Montreal native Bruno Garneau is heading to his second Paralympic Games.
It was officially announced on Tuesday afternoon that the 56-year-old will replace five-time Paralympian Paul Gauthier (Vancouver, B.C.) in the Paralympic boccia competition as Gauthier is unable to compete due to injury.
“It’s unfortunate that Paul will not be able to compete with us in Rio.” said Mario Delisle, the head coach of the Canadian boccia team. “Paul has been a leader in our program for 20 years and this would have been his sixth Paralympic Games. We are lucky though, to have a player of Bruno’s calibre, ready to step up for Canada.”
This is the sixth year Garneau has been a member of the Canadian team. His first major international competition was the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He ultimately finished seventh in the BC3 pairs mixed competition alongside Gauthier and Monica Martino (Vancouver, B.C.).
His breakthrough performance took place a year later at the 2013 Boccia America’s Cup in Gardner, Kansas as he won two gold medals for BC3 pairs with his BC3 teammates Éric Bussière (Verchères, Que.) and Gauthier.
The trio teamed up again for a gold medal at the 2015 Parapan American Games in the BC3 pairs competition. Garneau also advanced to the quarter-final of the singles competition before being knocked out of the tournament by Bussière in a tight 5-4 affair.
Garneau, Bussière, and 16-year-old Marylou Martineau (Quebec City, Que.), will be aiming to deliver Canada’s first BC3 boccia medal since Gauthier struck for gold in men’s singles, and for bronze with his mixed pairs teammate, Alison Kabush (Surrey, B.C.), at the 2004 Athens Games.
Boccia will be staged at Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca Arena 2 from Sept.10 to 16. Visit the official Rio Paralympics website for a full breakdown of the schedule.
Photo credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee