Over the course of seven days, more than 7,000 athletes from 29 countries made the journey to Montreal and its South Shore to participate in Canada’s largest multi-sport competition. The 35th edition of the Défi sportif AlterGo came to an end on Sunday, April 29 in an atmosphere of pride, hope and eagerness to meet again next year.

Representatives of Hong Kong, Russia, Brazil, Abitibi, Beauce and Quebec all descended on the city with the same objective: to give the best of themselves and transcend their limits.

“It’s fantastic that 7,461 athletes attended. It’s been 35 years and I think we’ve proven that we’re a well-established organization. Our future looks very bright,” stated Maxime Gagnon, director of the Défi sportif AlterGo.

A Large-Scale Event

At the Défi, there is room for both developing and elite athletes. The BISFed World Open brought together the world’s best boccia players and a record number of countries participated in the event. The return of wheelchair fencing to the Défi sportif AlterGo did not go unnoticed either: The World Cup was a high-calibre competition.

“The Défi sportif AlterGo has become a high-level international event and there is much to be proud of,” emphasized Gagnon.
Canada’s top para-cyclists met again this year at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. “Given Canada’s success in cycling at the Paralympic Games in Rio, holding this type of event at home is important. A large number of developing athletes are able to attend,” noted Gagnon.

The school component continues to have a strong presence at the Défi sportif AlterGo. “This year, an athlete came from the Beauce region and we expect a whole group to come from there next year. For athletes that don’t have access to a competition circuit, the Défi sportif AlterGo serves as motivation to train, to develop healthy lifestyle habits and to live an active life.”

Over the past 35 years, not only have athletes started low on the ladder and moved up over time, but so have many volunteers. “It’s quite something to see all these people who started as volunteers for the Défi sportif AlterGo that are now referees, officials or international volunteers,” explained Gagnon.

Renewed Confidence

Every year, the Défi sportif AlterGo welcomes new athletes, while those who are familiar with the event come back time and time again. The same goes for the volunteers and sports federations that demonstrate their confidence in the event by returning for every edition. “We had the opportunity to speak to several of our long-standing partners who wish to continue to collaborate with us. We want to sustain this momentum and continue to improve. We even have plans to expand the organization!” exclaimed Gagnon.

After 35 years of existence, the Défi sportif AlterGo continues to grow. “More and more athletes are attending. The Paralympic Games last ten days. Eventually, we may not have a choice either. That’s the direction we’re headed in.”

See you in 2019, as of April 29!