Langley City’s Danielle Ellis is looking forward to leading Team Canada at the Tokyo Paralympics.
“I feel so grateful to be a part of Canada’s sitting volleyball program heading to Tokyo 2020 for our second Paralympic Games!” Ellis, the team captain said, when the roster was revealed in July.
“I am so proud of the work that each one of us has done over the last five years and am so excited to compete against the best teams in the world, and show those teams that Canada means business. We’re ready to fight!”
Ellis, who was born in White Rock and raised in South Surrey before she moved to Langley City, was voted February’s 2020 Allianz Athlete of the Month after leading Team Canada to a gold win at the World ParaVolley final Paralympic qualification tournament in Halifax, earning a last-chance berth for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. She was also named the tournament’s “Most Outstanding Player.”
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Ellis described the victory over Ukraine as “100 per cent” a team effort.
“If someone seemed to struggle the entire rest of the team would step up and we all had “bad points” but I always felt we had this calm control, even when we went down,” Ellis recalled.
When Felicia [Voss-Shafiq] tipped that last point, and the ball hit the floor, I can’t even begin to describe what I felt. All of a sudden, a dream of another Paralympic Games became a reality. My blood was roaring in my ears, my heart beating through my chest. I just got up and started jumping up and down on one foot! We all hugged and screamed and cheered.”
The team beat out four other nations to take the last ticket to Tokyo, making its second straight Paralympic appearance in the women’s event after debuting at the Rio 2016 Games.
In June, the team had a welcome opportunity to shake off some of the rust from 16 months of not competing in a series of exhibition matches against Team USA.
They took a set off their rivals in the first match, but the Americans dominated the rest of the series.
“It was really good to get back on the court, in our jerseys, and play the sport we all love..”
One challenge has been taking time off from her job as an ambulance dispatcher to compete.
“This year has been particularly difficult acquiring time off due to the pandemic, so I will be using a mixture of holidays, banked time off and unpaid leave to take the two months off that I require this summer,” Ellis told the Langley Advance Times.
Canada, currently ranked fifth in the world, will be in competition alongside seven countries: USA, China, Italy, Brazil, Rwanda, Japan, and RPC.
Sitting volleyball competition will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5.
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