Appointed to represent the Americas Zone on the new Athlete Steering Committee is Canada’s Erica Gavel. Erica has been playing wheelchair basketball since 2012 following a serious knee injury which forced her to retire from running basketball. She made her debut for Canada Women’s Team in 2015 at the Parapan American Games helping them secure a spot at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, of which she also participated.

Off court, Erica has been studying Exercise Physiology for the last three years, completing a Master of Science at the University of Toronto, and is currently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy in the same subject. She is looking forward to the new challenge of being part of this next step for IWBF:

“To be a part of the IWBF’s first ever Steering Committee is a tremendous honour and privilege. To have an Athlete Steering Committee is pertinent when making decisions as they directly impact the athletes. I look forward to working with the IWBF to help ensure each athlete has the best experience they rightfully deserve.”

Already an active athlete representative on the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Council and Paralympic Performance and Games Committee, as well as being part of the Sport Science and Research Working Group for the International Paralympic Committee, Erica is well versed in representing her fellow athletes views and hopes her learning from these will be beneficial for the new steering group.

“Between my athlete representation experience with the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the International Paralympic Committee, I hope to bring a diverse perspective which focuses on “athlete-centred” decisions and ways to help the IWBF integrate those perspectives from an operational and organisation point of view.

“I foresee the Athlete Steering Committee assisting IWBF in ways that may have been overlooked. For example, when implementing a new policy, the direct impact on athletes may be missed if information is only being passed among administrators. Personally, I see this committee as being nothing but beneficial for IWBF.”

Still passionate about both basketball and wheelchair basketball, Erica is keen for wheelchair basketball to establish itself on the world stage:

“In the future, I hope to see wheelchair basketball recognised the same way able-bodied basketball is. While the Paralympic Movement is at an all-time high right now, there is still a long way to go. I hope we can keep pushing the envelope and make wheelchair basketball one of the most popular sports in the world, from both an able-bodied and Paralympic sport standpoint.”

Find out more about the Athlete Steering Committee