Tessa Popoff and Danielle Ellis

White Rock Paralympians aim for first win in Rio

Danielle Ellis and Tessa Popoff competing in sitting volleyball

Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball team has lost its first two games at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The team includes Tessa Popoff and Danielle Ellis, who both grew up on the Semiahmoo Peninsula and now reside in Langley.

Canada opened the tournament against the host country, Brazil – Canada’s first-ever Olympic match in the sport – and lost 3-0. On Sunday, the Canadians, ranked 14th in the world, won the first set against the No. 5-ranked Netherlands, before losing the next three.

Canada played No. 3-rankedUkraine Tuesday after Peace Arch News press deadline.

The 24-year-old Ellis, who lost her right leg below the knee due to cancer as a child, is a veteran of the Canadian squad, having previously played on the team from 2008-2012.

She moved on from the sport after Canada failed to qualify for the 2012 Paralympics in London, but returned this year after being invited back for last year’s Parapan American Games.

Prior commitments kept her from rejoining the team at that time– Canada finished third and qualified for Rio as a result – but she made her comeback soon after, earning a spot on the roster last spring.

“It feels great to have this amazing second opportunity, which I never thought I would have again,” she told Black Press last month.

Popoff, 31, only took up the sport in 2014, and was part of Canada’s bronze-medal winning team at the Parapan Games.

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