Happy Black History Month

Every February, people across Canada participate in Black History Month events and festivities that honor the legacy of Black people in Canada and their communities.

The theme for Black History Month for 2024 is: “Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build”. This celebrates the rich past and present contributions and accomplishments of Black people in Canada, while aspiring to embrace new opportunities for the future.

Ontario Para Network celebrates the past and present para athletes who have made their mark in sport!

Faye Blackwood is a longtime member of the Canadian sport community in many different roles including athlete, coach, and administrator.

A member of the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sport Association’s Hall of Fame as a coach, she first started working with athletes with a disability more than 30 years ago, most notably in track and field. Blackwood has been involved in coaching Para athletes and promoting Para sport across the nation.

For nine years, Blackwood was on the staff of Sport for the Disabled, now known as ParaSport Ontario. Then, it was off to Athletics Canada managing paralympic programs and for the past 20 years has been a Sport and Recreation Consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Blackwood was selected as a staff coach for several World Para as well as Paralympic Championship teams and was given the responsibility of working with sprinters and jumpers who had a variety of physical and intellectual disabilities.

Blackwood continues to devote her time and passion and we thank her for continued contributions to ParaSport.

-Grossman, D. (2024)CAO’s Empowering Stories from Behind the Bench article series – Black History Month 2024, Ontario, Canada



  • Won six OUAA gold medals and eight silver medals over the 50m, 60m and 300m.
    • CIAU Gold medallist in the sprint medley relay in 1981 (3:59:81)
    • Member of National Athletics team (1983-1987)
    • Member of Commonwealth games team 1986.
    • Indoor and Outdoor National Champion, 60m and 100m hurdles, 1986.
    • CCISA National Ambulatory Coach, 1990-present.
    • Staff Coach, 1990, 1994, 1998 World Championships (Holland, Germany, England).
    • Paralympic team coach 1992-1996, Barcelona, Atlanta.
    • 3M Coaching Award 1990, Ontario Female Coach of the Year 1997, Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award 1998.
    • Ontario Amputee and Les Autres Coach of the Year, 1999.
    • Manager of paralympic programmes with Athletics Canada at the time of induction.
    • Graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Kinesiology.

Highlights found HERE

Blaise Mutware started playing stand up basketball before a serious injury led him to wheelchair basketball. Mutware was born in Rwanda and moved around to

Lima, Peru – 31/August/2019 – Canada takes the silver medal in wheelchair basketball at the Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Photo: Dave Holland/Canadian Paralympic Committee.

South Africa and Zimbabwe before settling in Toronto at age 13.

Mutware began playing with the Variety Village Rebels, a local club in 2015. In the same year, Mutware was invited to train with the National Academy Program at

Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s National Training Centre.

He was named to the Senior Men’s National Team in 2019 and says it is “an amazing honour to represent Canada.”

Off the court, Mutware continues to pursue his passion for cooking and says he hopes to become a chef one day.

-Wheelchair Basketball Canada, Biography, Ontario, Canada


2022: Bronze medal win at the IWBF Americas Cupin São Paulo, Brazil

2021: 8th place finish at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

2019: 2nd place at Lima 2019 Parapan American Games (Team Canada)… 3rd place at the Wałbrzych President Cup Tournament in Poland (Team Canada)

2018: 3rd place at the 15th Kitakyushu Champions Cup

-Wheelchair Basketball Canada, Biography, Ontario, Canada

Abdi Dini Fatah was born in Somalia and moved to Scarborough, ON for a better life. He joined Variety Village as a teenager, where he quickly displayed a love for wheelchair basketball.

Fatah’s talent led him to the local Rolling Rebels wheelchair club, and later the Canadian Junior National Team, where he found great success, including winning first at Brazil’s World Junior Championship Games. He also won first in the Canadian Games with Team Ontario in 1999.

Fatah’s greatest achievement was his nomination to the Canadian Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team, where he was named three times to the National Championship All-Star Team (2009-2012) and competed in three Paralympic Games. His medal count includes silver at the 2008 Beijing, Paralympic Games, and gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, both in Men’s Wheelchair Basketball

He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the inaugural world junior championship in 1997 and repeated the feat in 2001. He also won gold at the Canada Games in 1999 and took home the bronze in 2003 as part of Team Ontario.


2008, 2012, 2016 Paralympic Games… 2011 and 2015 Parapan American Games


Studied business and finance in school.


  • 2016 Paralympic Games – 11th
  • 2015 Toronto Parapan American Games – Silver
  • 2012 London Paralympic Games – Gold
  • 2011 Guadalajara Parapan American Games – Bronze
  • 2010 World Championships – 7th
  • 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games – Silver

An inspiration to all, Fatah has been nominated for a number of awards, including the Sport Alliance of Ontario’s  Male Athlete with a Disability of the Year Award (2009), and Team MVP for the Canadian Junior National Team (1997). He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to the sport in 2013.

In addition to his athletic achievements, Fatah is a scholar, studying Finance and Business in school.

-Canadian Paralympic Committee, Ottawa, ON

-Abdi Dini Fatah, Variety Hall of Fame

Mercy Nyakundi was born with Spina Bifida Intradural Lipoma. Nyakundi has impaired muscle power and impaired leg movement. She was introduced to wheelchair basketball as a 14-year-old when she was given the opportunity to try adaptive sports at the health care centre she was attending. Nyakundi was introduced to coach Chris Chandler through one of her teammates, who helped fuel her passion for the sport. This led Nyakundi to being selected to the U25 Canadian Women’s National team in 2023.

With the help of coach Chris Chandler, Nyakundi began exploring her postsecondary options in the U.S. in June, she visited The University of Texas at Arlington, where she has committed to attend.

“I’m so excited because it will be so much exposure for me, compared to what I’m used to: the continuous training compared to here, where we’re training on weekends. There you regular weekday training and the tournaments on top of it all, it’s very exciting. I’ll be able to get so much experience that hopefully will help me in my future with the game.” (as cited in Wheelchair Basketball Canada, August 9, 2023)

Off the court, Nyakundi plans to major in Political Science, hoping to one day pursue a career as a lawyer.

  1. Mcmasterschildrens
  2. Wheelchair Basketball Canada (2023), Toronto, ON, CANADA