Buckingham serves sitting volleyball

At first glance, Jesse Buckingham might seem like any other sports enthusiast eagerly awaiting his chance to compete on the international stage. However, behind his steely resolve lies a remarkable story that has seen him rise from the depths of a life-altering accident to becoming a world-class athlete.

His journey took an unexpected turn in April 2014, when he was involved in a serious construction accident that resulted in the loss of his leg. Yet, from tragedy emerged a newfound purpose, igniting Jesse’s passion for Para sports and propelling him towards a future filled with promise.

“It’s a little bit of pressure, mixed with motivation to compete here in Dali, while the women’s team already earned their slot,” Buckingham shared, reflecting on the challenges he faces as he and his teammates vie for the final Paralympic qualification spot for Canada in men’s sitting volleyball.

“Every team competing here has pressure because this is a winner-take-all tournament. So. I am here, ready to compete, and hopefully be in that final match, lifting the gold and going to Paris.”

Despite the pressure, Jesse remains steadfast to succeed, drawing strength from the support of his teammates and fans back home. For him, winning this tournament is not just about personal glory, it’s about taking the first step towards a greater goal.

“Winning this tournament is the first, and the next step is making it to Paris, try to compete and win a Paralympic medal,” he declared.

But his contributions in sports extend far beyond the sitting volleyball court. Back home in Toronto, he serves as a programme assistant at Variety Village in Scarborough year-round, where he imparts his love for Para sports to people of all ages and abilities.

Despite the challenges he faced and overcome, Buckingham remains committed in his pursuit of distinction.

“I want to compete until my body doesn’t let me anymore,” he asserted, his determination unyielding as he sets his sights on the Paralympic Games and beyond.