Shay is on Team Nova Scotia’s athletics squad and on July 31 he won the silver medal in para-discus.
“It wasn’t my farthest throws,” said Yarmouth's Shay, after the sweltering early evening event on July 31 when the discus event was held. Shay had posted earlier in the day on his Facebook page that the temperure felt like 40 degrees with the humidity.
Shay threw 11.5 metres. Not a personal best, he says, but still far enough for the silver medal.
“Considering the heat, I did alright. I’ve got shot put on Friday night and hope it is cooler. I hope to place top three there, too," he said Winnipeg.
Shay ended up in fourth place in the shotput event, just shy of a bronze medal.
This isn’t Shay’s first Canada Games, but it is a notably different experience from when he competed at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in the sport of wheelchair basketball.
“Many different things about it. At the winter games it was cold, hard to get around in a chair, wet, etc. Here it's sometimes hard to stay cool enough with the heat, but besides that it's easy to get around,” he said. “It's just got those positive summer vibes, I guess. Everyone's out chucking Frisbee's or baseballs. It's fun.”
Shay had said Sunday he was feeling pretty good about his events.
“I’m coming to the event ranked third in discus and ranked second in shotput, but, of course, nothing's guaranteed and I still have to put in the work to win that medal, but I think I've got what it takes,” he said.
Shay went to games having won two gold medals in shotput and discus at a recent Atlantic championship event.
Earlier in July, Shay had achieved a personal best at the Canadian National Track & Field Championships, held in Ottawa, in the men’s seated discus throw, by bettering his distance then by about a third of a metre. By throwing 12.20 metres he captured a bronze medal. He also won a bronze medal in shot put with a distance of 6.04 metres, which was 11 centimetres shy of his personal best, he said.
Shay said participating in last Friday’s Summer Games opening ceremonies was "amazing."
“There were ceremonies done by indigenous persons, a performance by artists including Serena Ryder, they lit the flame and most excitingly I got to shake Justin Trudeau's hand and take a picture with him,” said Shay. “It was a blast and a great way to start the week.”
Shay has been in a wheelchair since he lost the use of his legs in a 2013 car accident in Yarmouth that left him a quadriplegic. After recovering from the accident – and as part of his recovery – he took on the sport of wheelchair racing, along with the shotput and discus field events, and has had much success through the years.
Being in a wheelchair hasn’t slowed Shay down, nor has it slowed his determination – if anything it’s made it stronger and is indicative of the high-level, motivated athlete he’s been throughout his life. In the last few years he has trained and competed in events provincially, nationally and internationally. He hopes to reach the Paralympics in 2020.
In fact, after the games Shay said he’s got a 5K push to do the day he gets back. Then he turns his attention to the Shay's Opportunities for Disabled Youth summer multi-sport camp that will be running Aug. 8-11 in the Halifax area.
“After that, I plan on taking a well-needed, couple-week break before getting back into training for the next big thing, either Para Pan Ams, Worlds or Paralympics hopefully!”
When he learned he had made Team Nova Scotia for these Summer Games, Shay had expressed congratulations to the other athletes who made Team Nova Scotia and encouraged those who didn’t to continue to push themselves and stay motivated.
Team Nova Scotia has about 425 athletes competing in 16 sports during the games. Week 1 sports are athletics, baseball, men’s softball, mountain bike, diving, rowing, sailing, women’s soccer, triathlon and men’s and women’s beach volleyball. Week 2 sports are indoor volleyball, wrestling, tennis, swimming, women’s softball, men’s soccer, golf, road cycling and canoe/kayak.