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At the early age of 11 years, Tami Saj was already making waves in her chosen sport of swimming winning her first competitive events at the Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled in 1985. Winning 3 golds and setting 1 provincial record her first time out, she came back the following year with 5 gold medals and 5 provincial records.

Training with the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts, Tami started her international career at 12 years of age when the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association selected her to be a member of the Canadian National Swim team. In 1986 at the Pan American Games for the Physically Disabled Tami won three silver medals.

At 14 years of age Tami was considered a veteran of the international swim scene and was ranked among the top in the world in her class when she was named to Canada's 1988 Paralympic Team. Tami represented Canada with distinction in Seoul that year, narrowly missing a medal with a 4th place finish in the 100m Backstroke.

In 1990, following a year and a half absence from the swim scene, Tami quickly got on track, competing at the Stoke-Mandeville World Wheelchair Games in England, an event that featured over 800 athletes from all over the world. At that event she won two gold and three silvers for Canada setting new Canadian records along the way. The following year, Tami added another world gold medal to her list of accomplishments.

In 1992 Tami was once again selected to represent Canada at the Paralympics, this time travelling to Barcelona where she competed in six different events.

In 1993 the Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled were held in Thunder Bay and Tami earned 2 gold and 3 silver medals setting a Canadian record in the 50 m backstroke. This marked Tami's last competitive swimming event before her retirement - a fitting opportunity for her local fans to cheer her on and recognize her outstanding contribution to the sports heritage of northwestern Ontario having won over 60 medals and still holding two Canadian backstroke records.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 1996

Tami Saj

Thunder Bay
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