As part of Seated Throws Week we’re shining a spotlight on Ana Karanovic, a Certified Recreation Therapist and our hard-working program coordinator who runs our Wheelchair Athletics programs and leads many of our junior initiatives. She brings a positive presence to our team and rarely misses a chance to cheer her athletes and co-workers on.
A 2018 graduate of Douglas College’s Recreation Therapy Degree Program, Ana was first introduced to wheelchair sports during an adapted physical activity class in 2015. From there Ana began volunteering at our events and programs, and luckily never left! During the next three years, she progressed through our ranks from volunteer, to summer student before officially becoming our Athletics Program Coordinator upon completing her studies.
Ana was drawn to BC Wheelchair Sports because of what she calls “the great people I get to work with and facilitate programs for” and loves seeing the ways that athletes accomplish their goals through sport.
“It’s really cool to see everyone’s different experiences in sports and how that can lead to different paths. Whether they come to a weekly recreational program or go all the way to the national team, it’s awesome to see people accomplish their goals.”
As our Athletics Coordinator, Ana runs our wheelchair racing and seated throws programs, an experience that has taught her a lot about both Track and Field and the importance of determination.
“I never was too involved with Track and Field (before joining BCWSA), so I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the sports and seeing the community and determination within the sport. It’s incredible to see an athlete’s progression in athletics because it is an individual sport, so people rely on their own abilities and motivation.”
Although racing and throws are individual sports, Ana also loves the team and community atmosphere inherent in athletics and how it brings people together.
“They’re individual sports, but at track and field meets and nationals, you really see people and teams come together and support each other as one community.”
Through working at BCWSA, Ana’s learned about all of the different options and opportunities for people with disabilities to be active and involved in sport.
“Before I got involved with BCWSA, I didn’t have too much exposure to parasport or different disabilities in general. I had previously worked with kids with autism, but working here has opened my eyes to all of the sports and innovative equipment available to people and how there really is a sport for anyone, regardless of what disabilities they have or don’t have.”
A fierce advocate for inclusion and physical activity, Ana believes working for BC Wheelchair Sports has helped her become a more aware and inclusive person.
“It’s always a good reminder working in this field to be inclusive of everyone, which is a really big part of what I stand for as a Recreation Therapist and as a person. Everyone deserves to feel and be included.”
Ana’s commitment to inclusion is never more apparent than when Ana’s running our junior programming. As the lead of our BTG Kids programs and Jr. Wheelchair Sports, she works tirelessly to remove barriers to physical activity and ensure that children and youth with disabilities can experience sport in its purest form.
“Knowing how many kids out there aren’t physically active or receiving the support they need to get involved in sport, it really motivates me to work hard. Through sports and our programs, kids and youth get the opportunity to be active, but they also get to meet other people in similar situations, which is so important. Sports are about so much more than winning or losing games; it’s about working on yourself and your skills, learning to work together, making friends, and just having fun”.
Whether it’s running a Have-A-Go Day or starting up a new virtual program during COVID-19, Ana is committed to making sure that every participant has a good time and a positive experience in sport. We’re fortunate to have such a positive and dedicated person working to create change through sport.
Whether you’re an adult looking to try wheelchair athletics or a parent looking for accessible and inclusive activities for your child, Ana will be more than happy to help you start your journey with BC Wheelchair Sports. You can reach her by email at [email protected]