St. Albert had a representative on the 2020 Canadian Paralympic Basketball team in Tokyo.
Arinn Young, 25, who was born and raised in St. Albert, donned the Canadian jersey and helped the team place second in their group after going 3-1 in round-robin play.
They were eventually ousted in the quarter finals as they dropped a 63-48 result to the United States.
This was Young’s second Paralympic experience, having played for the national team in Rio for the 2016 Games. While this year’s edition of the Games has been different from years past due to COVID, she said the hard work of organizers made it an enjoyable one.
“The experience has been great here so far in Tokyo. The volunteers and staff have been great and are keeping us safe,” said Young. “It’s incredible to see the work that’s been put in for every athlete to be safe here.”
Young has had a long history in the sport. She played stand-up basketball for 11 years before knee injuries forced her to take up wheelchair basketball. Since then, it has been success after success as she rose up the ranks across the country and became a mainstay on national teams.
“When I initially got injured, a family friend of ours recruited me to come play wheelchair basketball. Once I tried it out, I found a new love for another sport,” said Young. “In 2014 I made the national team and have been there ever since ... I love my team and I love being around people with the same goals, so training at such a high intensity and performance just starts to become natural.”
The feeling of putting on the Canadian jersey is a dream come true for Young. She said it’s tough to put into words just how proud she is to represent her country.
“I get goose bumps always trying to explain what it feels like,” said Young. “I am just so proud. I am proud I get to represent something that’s bigger than me and I get to show the world what Canadians are all about. It’s always just been bigger than me and I take a lot of pride in showing that.”
While she doesn’t spend much time in St. Albert due to a rigorous training schedule, Young always has the community in her heart. She wants everyone to know that the Canadian jersey doesn’t just represent the country as a whole, but her home as well.
“I always tell people from back at home that I represent them as well ... the small-town kid showing the world that we fight back,” said Young. “Any chance I am home I go and talk to schools and visit as many people as I can because I care, and any chance I get I’ll mention my home to the world.”
During the tournament, Young tallied 62 points over five games and averaged 12.4 per game. This included a valiant 10-point effort in a round-robin match-up against group-leader Germany, which Canada dropped by a razor-thin margin of 59-57.
The team would end the tournament on a positive note. They took on host Japan on Friday in a classification game and came up victorious as Young netted eight points en route to a 68-49 win.