Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten will not compete for Canada in Rio, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced Thursday.
The para wheelchair racer was not among 24 athletes selected to compete at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next month.
“I’m heartbroken and sad, of course, but at this level of sport you kind of have to expect some of this stuff,” said the 28-year-old.
Racing at the Paralympics had been Frotten’s main goal in life for the past three years. Adding insult to injury is the fact Canada could take 11 females, but instead took nine.
“If they had taken the 11 girls Canada was allowed to take, I would have been there for sure,” said Frotten. “I don’t know what’s up with that. They filled all their guy spots but didn’t fill all their girl spots.”
“I don’t really know what their whole process is,” she added. “It is kind of unfortunate, but it’s not like they took other people instead of me. They tightened up their criteria I guess and I just didn’t make it.”
Instead of Frotten, Athletics Canada (who makes the selections) went with Saskatoon’s Ilana Dupont, who also races in the T53 category.
Though Frotten has beat Dupont in the past, this season Dupont won a clear majority of their head-to-heads and is higher in the IPC world rankings.
“She’s been kicking my butt all season,” said Frotten.
“When I look back on the year, it’s kind of been a rough year for me,” she added. “I really didn’t perform my best. I get a little bit of time off now and figure out what’s really important in life.”
So what’s the plan moving forward?
“I don’t know what the plan is. I’m open to suggestions. I’m taking a little bit of time off from training, so we’ll see. I think I have to fall back in love with racing a little bit. It was a hard year.”
Despite tendonitis in her shoulder, Frotten bagged two silver and two bronze medals at the Canadian Track and Field Championships — which was also the Paralympic trials — last month in Edmonton.
Frotten, who races for the Saskatoon Cyclones Racing Club, won five medals at the 2015 track nationals. With those results she was selected for the Toronto 2015 Parapanam Games where she won medals in two of her three events.
Frotten then made two finals at the IPC worlds last fall in Qatar, placing seventh in the 200-metre and eighth in the 100-metre.
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