10 days—6,150 athletes—23 countries—5 competition sites—1,060 volunteers: The 41st Défi Sportif AlterGo is now officially over, but the last 10 days have been filled with inspiration and touching moments.

At the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex, the Maurice-Richard Arena, the Howie-Morenz Arena, Jarry Park, and the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit Sports Centre, the athletes gave their all, wowing the spectators with their impressive performances.

The CEO of AlterGo, Maxime Gagnon, expressed his delight with the 41st Défi Sportif AlterGo, which was also the 30th one he was personally involved in. “It was spectacular to see all the new Défi Sportif AlterGo athletes, as well as those who come back year after year, and all the coaches and volunteers. I think we can say it was a big success.”


A great experience for our athletic ambassadors

All 5 of our athletic ambassadors made their marks, either before or during this year’s Défi Sportif AlterGo. Iulian Ciobanu and his teammate Alison Levine won the silver medal in pairs BC4 boccia. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to defend the title we won last year, but as an ambassador, I’m proud of today’s performance,” explained Ciobanu, following Sunday’s final.

As for Nathan Galarneau-Desjardins, he and his junior para hockey team won the gold medal. “We have great team spirit. We do a lot of passing. We have the best players, the best defenders, the best goalie,” said Galarneau-Desjardins, who also participated in the school component’s track and field events.

Romy Hamel also took part in the school component’s events. She ran in the mini-marathon, then competed in the track and field events and the elementary school soccer games, winning a silver medal in the 150 m race. She embraced her role as athletic ambassador with pride, pleased to be able to represent young people with functional limitations and, more specifically, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, through her role.

Alisson Gobeil arrived at the Défi Sportif AlterGo on Saturday, May 4, for the para-swimming competitions. After deciding at the last minute to compete in the 100 m freestyle race, she won the gold medal. During their visit, Alisson’s parents once again remarked on how important the Défi Sportif AlterGo has been to Alisson’s career, as well as how strongly the new slogan “It all starts here” resonates with the entire family.

Sofia Fassi Fehri made a brief appearance at Défi Sportif AlterGo to kick off the first day of activities at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex. She had just returned from Japan, where she helped our national wheelchair basketball team qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.


School athletes shine

The 41st Défi Sportif AlterGo hosted 5,689 young school athletes, representing 106 educational establishments from regions throughout Quebec. The school component of the event began with the mini-marathon on Friday, April 26. On a beautiful, sunny day, 1,070 students raced in distances of 500 m, 1 km, or 3 km on foot, in wheelchairs, on tricycles, and on adapted bicycles, with or without assistance.

Then, on Monday, April 29, at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex, the school component really took off, with the human archway event. Every day that week, the young athletes took part in track and field, rhythmic gymnastics, wheelchair slalom, soccer, basketball, ball hockey, functional circuit, and swimming competitions.

According to our school sports coordinator, Catherine Destin, “The atmosphere was really festive, all week long. What I loved the most was seeing all those young people having fun and doing their best, and seeing everyone—the organizers, the coaches, the volunteers—giving 100%.”


Canadians stand out in high-level and developmental sports

Boasting 461 athletes from 23 countries, this year the developmental and high-level sports components featured impressive performances in swimming, wheelchair basketball, para hockey, power soccer, boccia, and track and field.

During the National Boccia Open, teams from Quebec won a total of 10 medals.

In swimming, Quebec’s Tyson Jacob broke two Canadian records in the S5 200 m medley and 100 m backstroke events.

In wheelchair basketball, it was great to see two of our 2023 athletic ambassadors, Théodore Gallant and Saoud Messaoudi, playing for the same team.

The international power soccer tournament, which pitted teams from Canada, Mexico, and the USA against each other, ended in victory for the USA’s Northeast Passage Wildcats.


Lofty ambitions

Now that the 41st Défi Sportif AlterGo has come to a close, it’s time to save the dates for next year’s edition, which will take place from April 25 to May 4, 2025. But that’s not all! “For us to become even more well-known, it all starts here. And who knows? Maybe someday we’ll even hold a Défi Sportif AlterGo outside of Montréal . . . That would make us very happy,” concluded Gagnon.

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