It’s a “great relief” for Paralympian Travis Murao to finally be in Tokyo after uncertainty over whether the games would even take place.
The Paralympics are set to kick off Tuesday, and Richmond native Murao will be once again playing on Team Canada’s wheelchair rugby team, facing off against Great Britain on Day 2.
Murao has competed in the Paralympics in the past. He said the Paralympic Village is normally an “amazing place,” but this year it feels “extra special.”
“We were all faced with the uncertainty of whether or not the games would be cancelled so to actually be here is a huge relief and you can feel the excitement and energy building as more countries and athletes start to populate the village,” Murao said in an email to the News on Friday.
Normally the team would have been competing all year internationally and would have a better sense of who’s at the top of the rankings.
That’s been highly curtailed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the teams that are going to find success are those that adapted well to COVID and really didn't miss a stride and I'm confident in the job we've done and our preparation,” Murao said.
However, the only thing he’s certain about are “surprises and unexpected outcomes,” he added.
Murao hails from Steveston, but he’s been training in Toronto for the past three years.
But he said Richmond and Steveston are always home, and having the support of his hometown “means so much to me.”
“It was amazing to see Evan Dunfee, a fellow Richmondite come through with such an amazing performance and I'd like nothing better than to add to Richmond's medal haul,” he said.
To watch a streaming of the game on Aug. 25, go to https://wheelchairrugby.ca/wheelchair-rugby-paralympic-guide
Richmond Centre for Disability (RCD) will be promoting the Paralympic Games, which run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5, at their current location inside Lansdowne Shopping Centre.
A television will be at RCD’s wifi lounge projecting into the mall so shoppers can follow the games.
Dave Thomson, outreach coordinator, will also be compiling information about the 21 B.C. athletes taking part in the games.
Thomson will also be posting medal counts and Power-Point presentations on the various sports being played at the Paralympics.