NEWS
08/05/2015 11:38 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 01:12 EDT

Boccia player Marco Dispaltro named Canada's Parapan Games flag-bearer

TORONTO — Wheelchair athlete Marco Dispaltro will carry Canada's flag at Friday's Parapan American Games opening ceremony.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee introduced the boccia player as the team's flag-bearer at a news conference in Toronto today.

The resident of St-Jerome, Que., who was born with muscular dystrophy, entered the 2015 season ranked No. 1 in the world in his classification.

Dispaltro, 48, won silver in singles at the 2011 Parapan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and was a bronze medallist in mixed pairs at the 2012 London Paralympics.

A former wheelchair rugby player, Dispaltro took up boccia in 2010.

Strategically similar to lawn bowling, boccia is played indoors on a flat, smooth surface. The objective is to throw, kick, or use an assistive device to propel leather balls as close as possible to a white target ball known as the jack.

It's one of 15 sports at the Games, which begin Friday and run through Aug. 15.

Some 1,600 athletes from North, Central and South America will participate in the competition, which comes on the heels of the Pan Am Games.

The Canadian Press