An athlete from Peace River is about to represent Canada on the main stage for the first time. Thomas Normandeau is gearing up to make his major games debut in the T47 400 metres at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Normandeau says he’s excited to plaster the maple leaf across his chest for the very first time.

“I’ve never been outside of North America so that’s pretty exciting as well as it will be my first time wearing Canada on my chest. I’m really excited to hop on the line and just rep the Canadian colours and really leave it all out there.”

He is fairly new to the sport only competing officially for the last year after taking up running his senior year of High school. The 23-year-old was born without a left-hand meaning he doesn’t have the same amount of power and speed as someone with two hands.

Looking ahead to the games, Normandeau says he wants to put winning or losing out of his mind and just take in as much as he can from the competition.

“Taking away any little bit of experience I can from this being my first games, whether its a positive or negative take away, [I’ll] just use that to better develop myself to have better performances with the Canada on my chest at other games.”

He will be competing on August 24th and 25th. The Parapan American Games run from August 23rd to September 1st and will feature a record 1,850 athletes who will compete in 17 sports.