Langley sitting volleyball star Danielle Ellis led Team Canada to victory at the Paralympic Qualification Tournament and a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Canada punched their ticket Saturday (Feb. 29) after a win over Ukraine to take gold at the World ParaVolley Women’s Paralympic Qualifier at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“I think we came out, we followed our game plan and we were ready to compete; I’m just really proud of the team,” said Canada’s head coach Nicole Ban. “It’s all kind of real now!”
Canada controlled the match early on, but Ukraine came back fighting and leading most of the third set. The Canadians kept their composure and tied it up late in the match to win 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-23). They finished with a 6-0 record at the tournament overall.
Ban continued: “I think we’ve come a long way; you can see it in our systems and our play. We’ve really focused on serving and passing and again I’m proud of them.”
Heidi Peters, who led the team in scoring with eight points, said: “We have prepared so much for this, especially the last four months. We have a remarkable staff and athletes. I feel really good about my performance here, as well as the whole team’s effort.”
“It’s a huge success to have a tournament on home soil, and we’re really grateful that Halifax was able to make that happen.”
This will be the women’s sitting team’s second appearance in the Paralympic Games – the team finished seventh in 2016 in Rio. Ukraine was fourth in Rio.
Earlier, Slovenia beat Germany in five sets to claim bronze. Only the winner (Canada) earned the Tokyo berth.
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Ellis was less than two months old when doctors had to amputate her right leg below the knee after she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of either soft tissue, connective tissue or bone.