The Olympic celebration continues with the Paralympic Torch Relay

TORONTO, Feb. 20 /CNW/ – Today, Adrian Heaps, Chair of the Toronto Community Task Force for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay (Councillor, Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest), announced Toronto’s five Community Torchbearers who will carry the Paralympic Flame when it visits the city for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay on March 5. Toronto is one of three cities outside of British Columbia chosen to host the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay.

The five Community Torchbearers who will carry the Paralympic Flame in Toronto are Paralympian Jeff Adams; wheelchair basketball players Shayne Smith and Abdi Fatah Dini; Citytv reporter Tara Weber and ParaSport Ontario advocate and volunteer Joe Millage. More than 41 torchbearers, including Toronto’s five Community Torchbearers will take part in the relay at Nathan Phillips Square in early March.

“I’m very pleased to announce Toronto’s five Community torchbearers who will carry the Paralympic Flame as part of the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations here in the city,” said Councillor Heaps. “The Paralympic Games are about celebrating and sharing stories of inspiring individuals, their achievements and their courage to triumph over adversity. All five Community Torchbearers reflect our city’s diversity, and have had the perseverance to fulfill their dreams, which in turn have made a significant contribution to our community.”

Adams, a Paralympian, is one of Canada’s leading athletes in wheelchair athletics. He has competed in five Paralympic Games, winning a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games for the 800m and 1500m track events. He is also a six-time world champion and former record holder in the 1500m and 400m wheelchair events.

Smith and Fatah Dini have represented Ontario in men’s wheelchair basketball in national and international championships. Smith currently plays for the Canadian Junior National Wheelchair Basketball Team, while Dini has competed at the Ontario ParaSport Winter Games as well as the national competition and Canada Games as a member of Team Ontario. Both athletes hope to represent Canada in the 2012 London Paralympic Games and the 2015 Parapan Amercian Games in Toronto.

Originally from British Columbia, Tara Weber was a reporter for CBC radio and TV in a variety of cities in Canada before moving to Toronto. She is currently a reporter for Citytv news in Toronto and is also an ambassador for the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Millage is a ParaSport Ontario advocate and volunteer who has been recognized internationally for the development of initiatives to create greater awareness and appreciation of athletes with disabilities.

Torontonians of all ages are encouraged to continue to embrace the Olympic spirit and come to cheer on the torchbearers when the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay visits Toronto on March 5. This will be the second time the city has been part of the Paralympic movement. The 1976 Torontolympiad was held in Toronto.

The City of Toronto will host a special community event at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday, March 5, starting at 12 p.m. For the first time, torchbearers will carry the Paralympic Flame as part of the community event.

The Toronto Community Task Force for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay would like to thank ParaSport Ontario for supporting the taskforce in preparing for the arrival of the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay next month. ParaSport Ontario is a non-profit organization, partly funded by the Ontario Government, which is dedicated to offering development and competitive sport programs for athletes with physical disabilities.

The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia will officially start in Ottawa on March 3, three days after the Olympic Flame is extinguished in Vancouver at the end of the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay will start with a uniquely Canadian lighting ceremony before travelling to several celebration sites and will involved approximately 600 torchbearers before arriving in Vancouver for the opening for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games on March 12.

For background information on the five Community Torchbearers visit http://www.toronto.ca/mie/paralympictorchrelay/index.htm