While the world recognizes International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Ottawa was announced as host city for the 2026 Wheelchair Basketball World Championship on Thursday.
This marks the first time Canada will host the joint event for senior men and women.
CBC Sports and Radio-Canada will take centre stage in providing coverage as the official streaming partners of the tournament.
“The organizing committee looks forward to delivering an unforgettable, emotionally-charged experience for athletes, stakeholders and spectators while spearheading the evolution of the game in Canada and around the world,” said Petitclerc in a news release.
Ottawa 2026 will be the largest team sport event for high-performance athletes with a disability in the world. Twenty-eight teams — 16 men, 12 women — will compete for the world championship crowns.
Empowering social change
Petitclerc, who was named to the Senate of Canada in 2016, said the opportunity to host the world championship extends beyond the field of play.
“Ottawa 2026 represents a momentous occasion to unite the world, celebrate the resilience of the human spirit, and champion inclusion,” Petitclerc said.
Canada previously hosted the men’s world championship in Edmonton in 1994, the U23 men’s worlds in Toronto in 1997, the U25 women’s worlds in St. Catharines, Ont., in 2011, women’s worlds in Toronto in 2014 and U23 men’s worlds in Toronto in 2017.
“I have personally experienced the thrill of representing Canada and winning a gold medal on home soil,” Canadian women’s team player Cindy Ouellet said.
“As an athlete, there is no greater honour than competing at home in front of your family, friends and fellow Canadians.”
Canadian teams are contenders for gold. The women have won five gold and two bronze medals in the 30-year history of the tournament.
Canada’s men have reached the podium six times and took the title in 2006.
Wheelchair Basketball Canada president Steve Bach says the organization is keen to take on this event.
“Backed by our rich history of hosting excellence … we will host an unparalleled, world-class event while creating meaningful legacies,” Bach said.
“There is much work to do in the years ahead and we are eager to undertake this journey with all of you.”