Next year’s Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Games will be a game changer for the province, promises new chief executive officer Saad Rafi.
The former provincial deputy minister replaced Ian Troop who was fired over “leadership issues” last December.
Nearly 7,600 Pan Am and Parapan athletes from 41 countries will compete in 36 sports, including women’s baseball, golf and canoe/kayak slalom which will debut in this city next summer.
“I am new to the Games and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to be here tonight,” he said at an ethnic media reception recently. “This job is incredibly exciting and it’s a real great honour to be here working on this amazing project.”
This will be the first time that a multi-sport event will be held in this province since the first official Commonwealth Games in Hamilton in 1930.
“The region has evolved into the most multicultural spot on the planet,” Rafi added. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase who we are and what we stand for here in the region. We want all of you and the communities you represent to play key roles. These Games are more than just sport. They are a chance to region-build, to make communities better and to leave real cultural and social legacies for our children.”
The 2015 Games, which will be held in 32 venues across the Golden Horseshoe and Greater Toronto Area regions, take place from July 10-26. The Parapan Games will run from August 7-14.
Joining Safi at the reception was Jamaican-born sports administrator Molly Killingbeck who was recently named a north zone sports manager.
The Games are split into five zones – CIBC Pan Am Park, Downtown, East, West and North which includes seven venues in six municipalities. They are the equestrian park in Palgrave, the cross country centre in Mono, the hardwood ski & bike facility in Oro-Medonte Township, the Wild Water Preserve in Minden Hills, the shooting facility in Innisfil and the Canadian Tennis Centre and the track & field stadium in Toronto.
“I am extremely excited,” said Killingbeck. “It’s nice to have a role to play in these Games. I have been involved in sport for the last 30 years doing different things, but never on this side. So it’s nice to be part of the organizing committee.”
The sports managers are responsible for strategizing, planning and executing the requirements for the key areas of sport competition, operations, services, presentation and Parapan planning and integration.
A York University graduate and two-time university Athlete of the Year, Killingbeck represented Canada at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics and was a member of the national 4 x 400-metre relay team that won a gold medal at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games two years earlier.
After retiring from the track, Killingbeck was the University of Windsor’s coach for almost six years and York University’s coach and instructor for 40 months. She was also Adidas Eyewear coach/athlete, Canadian Sport Centre Ontario manager of athlete services, a Canadian Olympic Committee event planner/organizer and Athletics Canada national relays and sprint program coach.
Killingbeck is a member of York University and Etobicoke Sports Halls of Fame.