Reunited with the game after a 17-year hiatus, Paralympian Lance Cryderman, who just gave a new life to a defunct Boccia club, is again aiming for the top.
In 2000, the Ontarian represented Canada at the Paralympics in Sydney, Australia. He had not played for more than a decade, before feeling the urge once again last year.
“I was watching a webcast of a national event in 2017 and told myself: “Well, I could still do it”. I spoke to my wife for her blessings and then [took the necessary steps] to register as an athlete”, he explains.
Last April, the 37 year-old won a bronze medal at a national event during the Défi sportif AlterGo, in Montreal.
He says it point-blank: he wants to represent his province on the national level and his country on the international scene. “I don’t do things half-hearted”, he says with a chuckle.
Opportunity to others
Not too long ago, Cryderman relaunched a defunct Boccia club in his hometown: the Sudbury Shooting Stars, of which he is a coach and a player.
The small team, of which several members have no competition experience, is training for the Boccia Blast, an event that will happen next month in London, Ontario.
“My teammates are looking forward to it because it’s a national event that will oppose athletes from across Canada. It’s pretty hard to find sanctioned events”, the Shooting Stars coach says.
Besides competing, Cryderman works with Ontario CP Sports Association in order to implement a Boccia initiation program aimed to the youth.
“I firmly believe in getting this sport accessible to others and allow them to have the opportunities that I had”, he says.
Elite players’ take
A member of the current National Boccia Training Squad views the return of a former member positively.
“If he still has the passion, it’s a good thing”, says Montrealer Benoit Ostiguy, who’s eyeing a spot on Canada’s national team at the upcoming 2020 Paralympics.
According to a another member of the Squad, her teammates of BC3 and BC4 classification are relatively new athletes working together, who have had much success in the last year and are strong contenders to medal at any international event.
“We will continue our training and continue to have success internationally so that we will qualify for our second Paralympic Games, in Tokyo”, says Montrealer Alison Levine.