Richard Peter participated in Olympic flame ceremonies when the torch stopped in Duncan on Oct. 31, 2009. (Citizen file)

Richard Peter participated in Olympic flame ceremonies when the torch stopped in Duncan on Oct. 31, 2009. (Citizen file)

Richard Peter pivots to para badminton

Duncan's Paralympic champ making Parapan Am debut in new sport

Already one of Canada’s most decorated Paralympic athletes, Richard Peter is taking on a new sport at the 2019 Parapan American Games, which open in Lima, Peru on Friday.

A member of Cowichan Tribes who was born and raised in Duncan, Peter is a four-time medallist in wheelchair basketball at the Paralympics. Seven years after his last appearance on the court, Peter is about to make his international debut in para badminton.

Peter is the two-time defending national champion in para badminton, which he took up after retiring from basketball at the age of 40.

“I am fortunate to have competed in so many Parapan Am and Paralympic Games throughout my career,” Peter said on Badminton Canada’s website. “Hopefully my experience at the Games can be beneficial to me and my fellow teammates as we look to lead the Pan Am region this summer.”

Peter made the national wheelchair basketball team in 1994 and represented Canada in five Paralympics between 1996 and 2012, winning gold in 2000, 2004 and 2012, and silver in 2008. He was inducted into the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame in 2009.

This is the first time that the Parapan Am Games will include badminton, but the Canadian team already has lots of international experience.

Peter is joined on the team by Yuka Chokyu, who represented Canada in wheelchair tennis at three Paralympics, and is also a two-time national champion in para badminton.

“I am so excited for para badminton to join the program at the Parapan Ams, and I know these athletes will have a good showing for Canada,” said Stephanie Dixon, chef de mission of the Canadian Parapan Am Team. “It’s also so wonderful to see athletes like Richard Peter and Yuka Chokyu joining Team Canada again in a new sport.”

Badminton competition in Lima will begin on Aug. 29 and run until Sept. 1. The Parapan Am Games are a qualifier for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, where para badminton will make its Paralympic debut.

Cowichan Valley Citizen