SASAKTOON – Keely Shaw, 27, qualified for the Canadian Para-cycling team, helping them realize a long-held dream.
“It’s been a mad rush thinking I did my very first run in May 2017 and now in August 2021 I’m going to be competing in the biggest sporting event in the world,” Shaw told CTV News.
Growing up, Shaw played several different sports including hockey, motocross racing, volleyball and badminton.
“If it was available within half an hour of my city, I gave it a try,” Shaw said. “Hockey was really the sport I fell in love with and I dreamed of playing at the varsity level and at the Olympic level.”
Everything would change in 2009 when she was involved in a horseback riding accident.
“I broke a blood vessel in my brain, which led to complete paralysis on the left side of my brain,” Shaw said. “It’s hard to be an Olympic hockey player when you can only move half of your body.
Describing herself as lost at the age of 15, Keely took a long time to finally find her new passion. About six years after her injury, she was approached by someone at the gym who knew her story and told her she would qualify for parasport.
“I tried cross-country skiing and I was so bad,” Shaw said. “I decided we were going to change gears.
After going back and forth to school, she thought she would give cycling a helping hand. In 2016, she bought herself what she describes as a “good road bike”.
“I kept training and building my engine, building the length of my runs, and then in May 2017 I was like ‘Try a run,’ Shaw said. ‘So I went to Moose Jaw and I did my very first bike race. ”
She was then in correspondence with the Canadian Paralympic Committee to become a member of the Para-cycling team. In August 2017, she flew to Quebec to participate in her first national event, placing third. She is happy to have found her new love for sport and to be linked to the Paralympic Games.
“I would say it saved my life,” Shaw said.