Sask. a woman qualifies for Canada’s Paralympic cycling team
SASAKTOON – Keely Shaw, 27, qualified for the Canadian Para-cycling team, helping them realize a long-held dream.
âIt’s been a mad rush thinking I did my very first run in May 2017 and now in August 2021 I’m going to be competing in the biggest sporting event in the world,â Shaw told CTV News.
Growing up, Shaw played several different sports including hockey, motocross racing, volleyball and badminton.
âIf it was available within half an hour of my city, I gave it a try,â Shaw said. “Hockey was really the sport I fell in love with and I dreamed of playing at the varsity level and at the Olympic level.”
Everything would change in 2009 when she was involved in a horseback riding accident.
âI broke a blood vessel in my brain, which led to complete paralysis on the left side of my brain,â Shaw said. âIt’s hard to be an Olympic hockey player when you can only move half of your body.
Describing herself as lost at the age of 15, Keely took a long time to finally find her new passion. About six years after her injury, she was approached by someone at the gym who knew her story and told her she would qualify for parasport.
âI tried cross-country skiing and I was so bad,â Shaw said. âI decided we were going to change gears.
After going back and forth to school, she thought she would give cycling a helping hand. In 2016, she bought herself what she describes as a âgood road bikeâ.
âI kept training and building my engine, building the length of my runs, and then in May 2017 I was like ‘Try a run,’ Shaw said. ‘So I went to Moose Jaw and I did my very first bike race. â
She was then in correspondence with the Canadian Paralympic Committee to become a member of the Para-cycling team. In August 2017, she flew to Quebec to participate in her first national event, placing third.
Bruce Crave, President of Craven Sport Services, has worked with Shaw since she started the sport.
âLet’s show you how to put on and take off your shoes,â Craven said. “So boom, and she’s leaving for our national team.”
Craven has worked with athletes at all the Olympics and Paralympics since 1988. He says Shaw is like many other Paralympic athletes.
âThey’re where they are because they’re fighters and they’re generally a little stubborn and won’t take no for an answer,â Craven told CTV News.
For Shaw, she is happy to have rediscovered the love of sport and to be linked to the Paralympic Games.
âI would say it saved my life,â Shaw said.
Maybe her biggest fan, her mom Carol Toles, is also horny.
âAbsolutely surreal, Keely has been a fighter, has always been a fighter. She is strong both physically and mentally. Her father and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
The 2020 Paralympic Summer Games are scheduled to begin on August 24 in Tokyo.