Four Cheema athletes named to Team Canada for world ch’ships

Jacy Grant and Sloan MacKenzie. (Submitted photo/Instagram)

WAVERLEY: Four athletes from Cheema and two former ones have been named as part of the Canoe-Kayak Canada roster for the World Championships and Olympic Hopes Regatta.

Craig Spence of Waverley; Sloan MacKenzie of Windsor Junction; Paddle All Athlete Matt Casey of Fall River; and Jacy Grant of Wellington will don the Maple Leaf and compete as part of the roster for the senior, junior, and U23 ICF Canoe and Para Canoe World Championships in Duisburg, Germany from August 23-27.

The sprint paddlers will be competing for 2024 Olympics and Paralympics quota spots.

Michelle Russell of Fall River, who now competes out of Abenaki Aquatic Club; and Riley Melanson, who now competes for Senobe, were also named as part of the 24 Nova Scotians named to the team.


Besides Spence on the men’s canoe team are:

Andrew Billard – Maskwa Aquatic Club
Connor Fitzpatrick – Senobe Aquatic Club
Tyler Laidlaw – Sackawa Canoe Club
and Alix Plomteux – Club de Canoë-Kayak Lac Beauport

On the Women’s canoe side, joining Grant and MacKenzie, who teamed together at the 2022 Canada Games, are:

Sophia Jensen – Cascades
Julia Lilley Osende – Mic Mac Aquatic Canoe Club
and Katie Vincent – Mississauga Canoe Club


Russell and Melanson will compete in women’s kayak.

Joining them will be:

Toshka Besharah-Hrebacka – Rideau Canoe Club
Natalie Davison – Rideau Canoe Club
Maddy Schmidt – Rideau Canoe Club
Courtney Stott – Balmy Beach Canoe Club

Olympic bronze medallist Vincent, will look to reclaim and defend her world championship titles, winning three gold medals and a bronze at the 2022 ICF Worlds in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Team Canada took home a total of eight medals last year including a silver and bronze from 2020 Paralympian Brianna Hennessy. Canada also ranked fourth overall in the country medal standings.

Casey had to win the right to go at last weekend’s Canada Cup in Ottawa.


The ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships will take place from July 5-9 in Auronzo, Italy.

The Olympic Hopes Regatta will take place September 7 – 10 in Poznan, Poland featuring 24 of Canada’s top U16 and U17 paddlers in an iconic event that showcases the next generation of Olympic talent.

“We are proud of the efforts of all of the athletes who raced for nominations this past weekend and look forward to working with those athletes nominated to compete on the world stage,” said CKC’s Chief Technical Officer, Ian Mortimer. “The events this summer are an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our talent as a nation.

“We know the entire community at home will be cheering them on.”