After winning a wheelchair doubles title, Mitch McIntyre (right) holds up his trophy.

On the ITF Wheelchair circuit, Canada’s Mitch McIntyre has been a consistent winner. It has taken the veteran very little time to find himself in the winner’s circle in 2024. 

At the year’s first major, another Canadian reached a new milestone of his own. 

Let’s catch up with the latest news from Canada’s wheelchair athletes.   

McIntyre Brings Home the Hardware 

The first wheelchair title of the year for a Canadian came in Arizona, where Mitch McIntyre won the quad doubles crown alongside American Andrew Bogdanov. 

McIntyre’s seventh career ITF doubles title extended his title-winning streak to three consecutive years.  

If not for the weather, the 38-year-old could have doubled up as he and Bogdanov were scheduled to meet in the quad singles final as well, but rain cancelled the final. 

At that same event in Arizona, Thomas Venos, Barry Henderson, and Natalia Lanucha all reached the singles quarter-finals of their respective draws.  

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Lanucha and Anne-Marine Dolinar reached the semifinals of the women’s doubles, losing to the eventual champions Abbie Breakwell and Maylee Phelps. Venos reached the men’s doubles semis with Japanese partner Shogo Takano, where they also lost to the eventual champions Adam Berdichevsky and Sergei Lysov. 

Venos also reached the quarter-finals of an event in Indian Wells in January, while McIntyre reached the doubles semis with Frenchman Jerome De Meyere. 

Australian Breakthrough for Shaw 

Rob Shaw was Canada’s lone representative in the wheelchair competition at the first Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open. 

In the past, Shaw’s best runs at the majors have come in the doubles, but he had a result of note in the singles. For the first time in six attempts, the Canadian won a singles match at a major, defeating Australia’s Finn Broadbent in straight sets. 

Rob Shaw reaches to hit a backhand.
Photo : Martin Sidorjak

It was a particularly dominant way to get the breakthrough, as Shaw dropped just one game in the 6-1, 6-0 victory. However, he lost in the quarter-finals to Israel’s Guy Sasson. 

Read also: San Jose Success for Young Canadians

Alongside partner Heath Davidson, Shaw reached the semifinals of the doubles where they lost to the eventual champions Andy Lapthorne and David Wagner. 

Road to the Paralympics 

In the background of all the regular action on the wheelchair circuit is the 2024 Paralympic Summer Games in Paris, taking place at the end of August. 

Qualification for the Paralympics is primarily based on ranking. The top 32 men, 20 women, and 12 quad athletes in the ITF rankings gain direct entry into the Paralympics. 

As of Feb. 14, Rob Shaw is the lone Canadian who is in position to qualify directly for Paris. Shaw is currently ranked No. 9 in the quad rankings and is about 450 points inside the Top 12. 

Mitch McIntyre is a ways back in the quad rankings at No. 31. 

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Natalia Lanucha is the top Canadian woman but is currently ranked No. 42, 22 spots outside of the Paralympic qualifying range. Anne-Marie Dolinar is 10 spots behind Lanucha at No. 52. 

On the men’s side, the leading Canadian is Thomas Venos but he has some work to do, currently ranked No. 59 and needing to climb 27 spots to get into a Paralympic position. However, despite the volume of places he needs to climb, Venos is only 141 points back of the 32nd-ranked player currently. 

Some spots are available at the Paralympics for winners of some regional competitions and via direct selection by the International Paralympic Committee and ITF.