Today, as the world marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Senator Chantal Petitclerc and Wheelchair Basketball Canada are beyond elated to announce the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Wheelchair Basketball World Championships are coming to Ottawa in 2026.
Ottawa 2026 will be the largest team sport event for high-performance athletes with a disability in the world. The elite wheelchair basketball competition will be a spectacle of eye-opening athleticism, tenacity and perseverance starring the top athletes in the game. Twenty-eight teams – 16 on the men’s side and 12 on the women’s side – representing roughly 20 nations will compete for the world championship crowns.
“As a proud Canadian and decorated Paralympic champion, I am delighted to serve as the Honorary Chair for Ottawa 2026 and bolster Canada’s reputation as a leading sporting nation by hosting the greatest world championships of all-time,” said Petitclerc. “The organizing committee looks forward to delivering an unforgettable, emotionally-charged experience for athletes, stakeholders and spectators while spearheading the evolution of the game in Canada and around the world.
“Beyond the field of play, this event is about so much more than sport. In these challenging times, Ottawa 2026 represents a momentous occasion to unite the world, celebrate the resilience of the human spirit, and champion inclusion. Our vision is to host a transformational event that empowers social change by moving people to feel, think and act differently towards wheelchair basketball and people with disabilities. As we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we believe Ottawa 2026 will move millions towards a more inclusive world through the incredible power of sport.”
Team Canada has been an absolute force in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball, combining for 15 world championship medals at the senior and junior levels, including eight gold.
“I have personally experienced the thrill of representing Canada and winning a gold medal on home soil,” said three-time Paralympian and world champion Cindy Ouellet. “As an athlete, there is no greater honour than competing at home in front of your family, friends and fellow Canadians. I am excited to see the people of Ottawa-Gatineau and the country rally behind this event. The athletic performances are sure to captivate audiences worldwide while defying traditional definitions of ability.”
“Opportunities to host the world at an event of this magnitude are rare,” said three-time Paralympic gold medallist and world champion Patrick Anderson. “Ottawa 2026 will shine a light on the game’s top athletes and give us a global platform to achieve greatness. We cannot wait to share our stories and our passion for the game to help grow the sport in Canada and around the world.”
The IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships take place every four years. Zonal qualification tournaments will take place in each of the four IWBF Zones (America, Africa, Europe and Asia Oceania) to decide which countries will join Team Canada in Ottawa.
“I’d like to congratulate Wheelchair Basketball Canada on being awarded the rights to host the 2026 IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in the City of Ottawa,” said IWBF President Ulf Mehrens. “Wheelchair Basketball Canada has a proven track record of delivering exceptional world-class events. We are excited to work with them again to take the international game of wheelchair basketball to Ottawa, to not only showcase the dynamic, fast-paced and competitive sport that is wheelchair basketball, but also to use the event to champion social change and inclusion, whether that be with a focus on health, society, or disability.”
The event is projected to unfold at Lansdowne Park inside TD Place Arena and the Aberdeen Pavilion, with additional venues at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. The tentative dates are scheduled from August 26 to September 5, 2026. The competition will feature 94 games over 11 days.
“I am very excited that Ottawa will host the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in 2026, bringing the best talent from around the world to the nation’s capital,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “This announcement is significant as I am proudly proclaiming today as International Day of Persons with Disabilities in the City of Ottawa. This exciting event will be an outstanding opportunity to showcase the athleticism and determination of the men and women competing in the championships. I look forward to continuing the promotion of inclusivity in our community through sports.”
“Our thanks to the IWBF for entrusting Canada with the honour of hosting the world championships,” said Wheelchair Basketball Canada President Steve Bach. “Backed by our rich history of hosting excellence and the support of our funding, sport, corporate and community partners, including the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Ottawa, we will host an unparalleled, world-class event while creating meaningful legacies. There is much work to do in the years ahead and we are eager to undertake this journey with all of you.”
CBC Sports and Radio-Canada will bring stories to Canadians as the official streaming partners of Ottawa 2026 IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships.
Ottawa 2026 marks the first time that Canada will host the world championship for senior men and women together. Wheelchair Basketball Canada has previously hosted the IWBF Men’s World Championship (Edmonton 1994), the inaugural IWBF U23 Men’s World Championship (Toronto 1997), the inaugural IWBF U25 Women’s World Championship (St. Catharines 2011), the IWBF Women’s World Championship (Toronto 2014), and the IWBF U23 Men’s World Championship (Toronto 2017).
Press release & photo: WBC