City Announces Paralympic Torchbearers and Schedule of March 10-12 Relay

Eight individuals representing the City of Vancouver will take part in the Paralympic Torch Relay which began in Ottawa last week and will culminate in the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron at BC Place on March 12.

“All of Vancouver’s torchbearers have demonstrated the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality and we are honoured to have them representing our city,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Two torchbearers were selected from each of the four categories of:

-       Athletes (Paul Gauthier, Donavan Tildesley)
-       Youth (Priya Sekhon, Sarah Cheung)
-       City staff (Bonnie Friesen, Betty Harris)
-       Community organizers (Craig McCord, Ann Carr)

“We look forward to hosting the world’s top athletes for the first-ever Paralympic Games to be held on Canadian soil, and we’re proud that for the first time in history the Olympic and Paralympic events are being celebrated on equal footing,” Robertson said.

Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations in Vancouver:

Hillcrest-Riley Park

Time:   March 10, 2010 Wednesday from 11 am - 1 pm
Place: Hillcrest/Riley Park Community Centre
Celebration Format:
A unique flame creation ceremony by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation will kick off the Paralympic Torch Relay. The Flame will travel in a circular route in Riley Park with exchanges taking place along the route and a street party on Ontario Street.  The event will be launched by Mayor Robertson along with other municipal officials.

Downtown- Robson Square:

Time:   March 11-12, 2010   2 pm – 2 pm (24 hours)
Place: Robson Square, Vancouver Downtown  
Celebration Format:
The 24-hour Torch Relay will start from the stage at Robson Square and the Paralympic Flame will travel in a repeated loop along Howe, Georgia, Granville, Smithe, Bute and Robson with the exchanges of the Flame taking place at various locations. Celebration activities will include simultaneous live entertainment, sponsor activities, sports demos and cultural crafts display.  The ice rink at Robson Square will be open for free public skating and the Zipline will open on March 12 at 10 am.

There will be road closures and restrictions to vehicle traffic along a few blocks of the relay route and the public are advised to leave their car at home and walk, cycle or use transit to go to the site.  

Biographies and Scheduled Relay Times

Vancouver Riley Park - Mar 10, 2010 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Priya (Jasdeep) Sekhon  Run Time 11:27 am

Priya (Jasdeep) Sekhon was involved in a car accident at the age of five that resulted in pentaplegia. She has limited movement in her arms, requires a ventilator to breathe, and has limited movement of her tongue, making speech difficult. Despite her condition, the 14-year-old is a testament to resilience, perseverance, and self determination, all of which are traits characteristic of the Paralympic Spirit.

Donovan Tildesley               Run Time: 11:42 am

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