Three more Richmond athletes named to Team Canada

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Three more Richmond athletes will be making their way to Lima, Peru for the Pan American and Parapan Am Games.

Mo Zhang (table tennis), Nathan Hirayama (Rugby Sevens) and Travis Murao (wheelchair rugby) have all been named to their respective Canadian teams.

Zhang, 30,  is a three-time Olympian who has competed at three editions of the Pan American Games. 

Heading into Lima 2019, she ranked 27th in the world, first among competitors from the Pan American region. She achieved a career-high world ranking of 19th back in December. After winning team silver at the 2007 Pan Am Games, Zhang was victorious in the singles event at Guadalajara 2011. In her second Pan Am Games appearance at Toronto 2015, Zhang teamed with Anqi Luo and Alicia Cote to win team bronze.

Hirayama, 31, has been playing at the senior national level since he was 20. He has played in four World Championships and two years ago became Canada’s all-time leading scorer. 

Earlier this month he co-captained Canada to a perfect run at the Rugby Americas North Sevens in the Cayman Islands which secured a berth in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Canada is the two-time defending champion in men’s rugby sevens.

Murao, 36, is one of just two B.C athletes named to Canada’s wheelchair rugby team. 

Four years ago, he helped the host country capture gold in Toronto. Canada will head to Lima ranked fifth in the world.

“We are confident that the team we have selected will give us the best chance to succeed, in what will be a difficult competition with highly competitive opponents. Ultimately, our goal is to win gold in Lima, which will automatically qualify Canada for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” said head coach Patrick Côté.”

Earlier, Evan Dunfee (race walking), Camryn Rogers (hammer throw) and Shaul Gordon (fencing) were nominated for Team Canada.

The Pan American Games start on Friday and run until Aug. 11. The Parapan Am Games get underway Aug. 23.