#Saskatoon2018: Rousell ready for hometown challenge
Asquith youngster Ryan Rousell - who grew up roughly 30km west of Saskatoon - is relishing the idea of competing in his backyard at the 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships.
By Jarrel De Matas | For IWAS
From 14-16 September 2018 the fencing fraternity will focus its attention on the Canadian city of Saskatoon, the host city of the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships.
Among the roster of athletes set to compete over the course of the event is Canada’s own son of the soil, 21-year-old Ryan Rousell. The Asquith youngster who grew up roughly 30km west of Saskatoon is relishing the idea of competing in his backyard.
Less than five months since Rousell won gold at home in the men’s sabre category A at the April 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Montreal, he is once again gearing up for competition in his home country.
But the World Cup winner is cautious after his bronze medal in the sabre at the 2018 Under 23 World Championships in Warsaw, Poland.
Proud of his podium finish at the Worlds, Rousell is keen to fight for gold once again in Saskatoon: “The only thing I can do is learn from my defeats and further enhance my technique and skills so that I can better deal with the challenges I faced in U23 [under 23] and hopefully better my outcome.”
Rousell says he has no expectations that come with being one of the tournament headliners ahead of Saskatoon 2018 but his goal will be the same as any other athlete: to win gold.
The Americas Championship provides a timely opportunity for Rousell to do just that, and in the process complete a home soil double. The young Canadian is aware of the potential advantage but he is not naïve of the challenges it also brings.
When asked about competing once again in front of his home fans Rousell said: “There is always going to be pressure to compete at home, however I feel it will be much greater. At home they’ll be there watching me, so I will say the pressure of living up to their expectations will definitely be higher.”
Aware of the hopes of his compatriots and also the progress of his preparations Rousell remains confident in his ability. “I haven’t been spending my entire summer training so I have to work to get back into top shape before the event but I have no doubt that when it begins I will be more than ready for whatever challenges I have to overcome.”
Even though one of those is qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Rousell remains committed to the present and taking each tournament one match at a time.
When asked about his ultimate goal for the competition in Saskatoon Rousell responded: “to place first overall in order to better my standing and have a better start when selection for the 2020 Paralympics starts as well as be in a position to receive a carding for myself.”
While Rousell has the 2020 Paralympics at the back of his mind, he has his sights firmly fixed on a good showing in the coming days. As the hometown favourite Rousell will be eager to give his country another reason to celebrate.
The 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships run from 14-16 September.