Sarah White started playing sports at a very young age, participating in everything from wheelchair basketball to para-hockey, para-swimming, para-skiing and horseback riding. It was not long before she wanted to go further.
“Sports are not just a hobby for me, they’re a way of life. When you’re active, it changes your perception and your level of motivation,” she declared.
One day, she and her mother attended the Défi sportif AlterGo to watch the track and field events, where they saw multiple Paralympic medallists Chantal Petitclerc and Diane Roy in action.
“I was encouraged to go watch the sport. The atmosphere was great and I fell in love with it,” recalled White, who was impressed by the experience and began wheelchair racing just a few weeks later.
“What attracted me the most was the intensity and strength it takes to move forward. I was really excited about it,” explained the 22-year-old, who hopes to be part of the Canadian delegation to the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020.
White, who has always loved team sports, feels that despite being alone at the starting line, she is part of a team. “I consider it a team sport. You never race alone because you’re surrounded and supported by your teammates and coaches.”
Behind the Scenes at the Défi sportif AlterGo
Sarah White is one of the athletic ambassadors of the 35th edition of the Défi sportif AlterGo, a role she shares with fencer Camille Chai.
“When I started competing in the Défi sportif AlterGo, I felt very supported by the event and nine years later, that’s still the case. It’s important to me to serve as a role model for the next generations of athletes.”
White is enjoying discovering the other side of the Défi sportif AlterGo. “I always attended as an athlete, but now I see how much work goes into the event,” explained the Montrealer, who had a front row seat at the opening ceremonies of the school component every morning at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard.
“It’s a unique experience, not something you see every day. More than 7,400 athletes came through this week, and the kids were so excited.”
A New Event
Nine years after discovering the Défi sportif AlterGo, White will participate in the first edition of the Chantal Petitclerc Classic on April 28 at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard. The event is unprecedented at the Défi sportif AlterGo.
“Chantal Petitclerc has been the spokesperson for the Défi sportif AlterGo for more than 15 years. It’s great that we can honour her this way.”
This competition is one of three Quebec stops of the National Para-Athletics Challenge, and counts toward the world rankings. Sarah White will compete in the 100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 800 m events in the T53 class.