Okotokian named MVP at worlds
Wheelchair Rugby: Zak Madell leads Canada to silver medal in Denmark
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 07:33 pm
One of the biggest names in wheelchair rugby continues to enhance his sterling reputation.
Okotoks’ Zak Madell added a few more items to his mantelpiece after earning tournament MVP and all-star honours in guiding Canada to a silver medal at the 2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship in Odense, Denmark.
“Zak’s grown up since the London 2012 Paralympics,” said Canadian head coach Kevin Orr.
“He’s stronger, he’s leaner, he’s more mature, and he’s ready to step into the limelight. It’s not often you find a player with such physical gifts who also has such a strong work ethic and humility.”
In a rematch of the 2012 Paralympic gold-medal game, the Australians again reigned supreme by a 67-56 score to lock up its first world championship title.
Canada made it to the final by the skin of its teeth. In yet another chapter of the rivalry behind the documentary Murderball, the Canucks came from behind to edge the United States 59-56 in overtime with Australia dispatching Japan in the other semifinal.
“We always have close games with the US, they are our biggest rival and we managed to come out on top,” Madell said in a press release following the semifinal win.
“We came out fired up, we had a rough loss to them at our zone qualifiers last year and we kept that in the back of our minds over the whole year while we were training for the tournament.”
Madell, a 2012 graduate of Holy Trinity Academy, played the most minutes on Canada and provided more than 60 per cent of the squad’s goals in important games. His MVP award is his second in as many years in Odense, matching his honour at the Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in 2013.
And the 20-year-old is only getting better as a relative newcomer to the sport.
After having his fingers and legs amputated at the age of 10 due to a septic staph infection, the athletic Madell enjoyed a brief dalliance with wheelchair basketball before serendipitously finding his way to wheelchair rugby.
In four short years, the Okotokian has evolved into one of the faces of the sport with his coming out party occurring on the biggest stage in the sport as he led Canada in scoring at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Joining Madell as tournament all-stars were Canadian teammates Trevor Hirschfield and Ian Chan.
To keep track of the latest on Canada’s Wheelchair Rugby team visit the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association’s website at cwsa.ca