By Gary Anderson

July 1 - Canada Day celebrationsCanadian athletes have taken part in an event showcasing Paralympic sports as part of Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.

The Canada Day Noon Show saw a host of Canada's top Paralympic athletes including sledge hockey players Marc Dorion and Ben Delaney, Nordic skier Margarita Gorbounova and snowboarder John Leslie appear on stage in front of thousands of people gathered in the Parliament Hill area of the country's capital city.

"It was such a thrill today to be part of the Noon Show and to have the chance to showcase my sport of sledge hockey to so many Canadians," said Dorion, Paralympic gold medallist and world champion.

"Hearing the roar of the crowd when I was on stage was a great reminder of all the support my teammates and I are receiving on the road to the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia."

As the build up to Sochi 2014 continues, the athletes will be hoping to make the final squad for the eleventh Winter Paralympics which is due to place in the southern Russian city, from March 7 to 16, next year.

Gorbounova, who grew up in St Petersburg before moving to Canada in 1999, said the event was extra special as July 1 is also her birthday.

The 29-year-oldr, who finished seventh at Vancouver 2010, is looking forward to visiting her country of birth and representing her new home.

"Being originally from Russia, I am thrilled to have the chance to compete in Sochi and to represent Canada, the county that I am proud to call home," she said.

Margarita Gorbounova of Canada competes during the Womens 3km Pursuit Visually Impaired Biathlon on Day 2 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics at WhistlerMargarita Gorbounova (left) is originally from St Petersburg but moved to Ottawa in 1999 and says she is proud to represent Canada at Sochi 2014

The Winter Paralympians were joined by athletes from summer sports, including swimmer Benoit Huot and cyclist Robbi Weldon.

Swimmer Huot revealed his excitement at the prospect of competing in the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships, taking place in his hometown of Montreal from August 12 to 18.

"The London 2012 Paralympic Games were such a highlight for me and now I look forward to welcoming many of the same international Paralympic swimmers to my hometown of Montreal," said the nine-time gold medallist.

"Competing on home soil is a rare and precious opportunity for any athlete, and I know all members of Canada's swim team intend to make the most of it."

Weldon, a gold medal winning cyclist and former Nordic skier, is equally excited about the upcoming 2013 Union Cycliste International (UCI) Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, from August 29 to September 1.

Weldon won gold at London 2012 in the women's individual B Cycling Road Race with pilot Lyne Bassette.

Bassette, a former Olympic cyclist, has since retired and Weldon is looking forward to getting out on the road with new partner Émilie Roy in Baie-Comeau.

"Having changed pilots since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, it's been really exciting to have had success this season with Émilie Roy as my new pilot," she said.

"We are now fine-tuning our preparations to race in Baie-Comeau and can't wait to perform in front of a home crowd and many of our friends and family."

Robbi Weldon and Lynne Bessette of Canada ride in the Womens Individual B Cycling Road Race on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Brands HatchRobbi Weldon (right) and former pilot Lynne Bessette on their way to victory in the Women's Individual B Cycling Road Race at London 2012

President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee Gaétan Tardif praised the efforts of all the athletes involved and pointed to the inspiration they provide to people across Canada to get involved in sport.

"Today on Canada Day, the Canadian Paralympic Committee cheers and acknowledges all Team Canada athletes, past and present, and thanks all coaches, sport and corporate partners, friends and family who are part of an athlete's journey towards excellence," he said.

"Whether it's appearing in the Canada Day Noon Show, preparing for upcoming world championships or training for Sochi, our Canadian Paralympic athletes are hard at work representing our country with pride and determination.

"We are proud of how they serve as inspiration and as ambassadors for all Canadians to be active and get involved."

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