Canadian karate team named for Santiago 2023 Pan American Games

Canada qualifies record number six karatekas for 2023 Games

TORONTO (July 14, 2023) – Karate Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced a record number of six athletes who will represent Canada in karate at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

Karate Canada will send four women and one man to compete in a variety of kumite weight categories, and one woman to compete in the kata discipline. Athletes selected for Team Canada in karate for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:


Melissa Bratic (Mississauga, Ont.)
Hana Furumoto-Deshaies (Gatineau, Que.)
Yamina Lahyanssa (Montreal, Que.)
Lily-Rose Nolet (Gatineau, Que.)
Ryan O’Neil (Halifax, N.S)

Claudia Laos-Loo (Surrey, B.C.)

Hana Furumoto-Deshaies, who qualified for Santiago 2023 by winning the North American Cup, will look to continue her medal-winning run into the Pan Am Games. The Gatineau, Que., resident recently won her first Karate 1-Series A title and was a silver medallist at the 2023 Pan Am Senior Championships in the women’s kumite -55kg event. 

“I am very proud to have qualified for the Pan Am Games, knowing that I get to participate at the highest level for my sport outside of the Olympics,” said Furumoto-Deshais. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to showcase karate alongside the other sports and increase its visibility. I want to live this unique experience to its fullest, go get that gold medal while creating unforgettable memories with my teammates.” 

Furumoto-Deshais will be joined by Yamina Lahyanssa, who is the Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games Champion and the 2023 Senior Pan Am titleholder in the women’s kumite -50kg event. Layhanssa earned a direct qualification to Santiago 2023 by winning the gold medal in the women’s kumite -50kg category at Cali 2021, which was the first edition of the Junior Pan American Games. After winning the gold medal at Cali 2021, Lahyanssa was selected as one of Canada’s two Closing Ceremony flag bearers at the event.

Lily-Rose Nolet (kumite +68kg), who was a silver medallist at a Series A event in Cairo this spring, will also compete in women’s Kumite along with Melissa Bratic (kumite -68kg) who is coming off a bronze medal at the Senior Pan Am Championships in Costa Rica. Ryan O’Neil (-75kg) will be the lone Canadian competing in men’s kumite. Nolet and O’Neil qualified for Santiago 2023 at the “Last Chance Qualifier” in Costa Rica, while Bratic also qualified by finishing winning her weight class at the North American Cup.

Claudia Laos-Loo was the lone Canadian to qualify for the Pan American Games kata competition after taking top spot in the “Last Chance Qualifier.” Days after securing her ticket to Santiago 2023, the Surrey, B.C., resident took a bronze medal at the Senior Pan Am Championships.

“Qualifying for the 2023 Pan Am Games has been a long-term goal of mine that required many sacrifices in order to achieve. I’m glad I was able to prove to myself that my hard work and dedication throughout my qualification journey was well worth it,” said Laos-Loo. “To now have the opportunity to represent Canada at the Games means I get to continue pushing myself to get even better and prove I belong out there, competing amongst the best Pan American athletes in the sport I love.”

“These are an extremely talented group of athletes who have all proven they can perform in pressure-packed situations,” said Rodney Hobson, sport technical leader, Karate Canada. “They have worked hard to get this far in their journey towards representing Canada at the 2023 Pan American Games, and I know they will be ready and focused on delivering personal best performances in Santiago.”

Karate will take place November 3-5 (Days 14 to 16) at the Estadio Nacional.

“I’m so excited to see Team Canada growing as we welcome the karate team,” said Christine Girard, Team Canada’s Santiago 2023 Chef de Mission. “I can’t wait to witness their extraordinary prowess as they demonstrate the artistry and power of karate on the international stage.”

Team Canada’s karate team coaches for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:

Pam Ross (Comox, B.C.) – Head Coach, Kata
Francois Persico (Montreal, Que.) – Lead Coach, Kumite
Rodney Hobson (Kelowna, B.C.) – Kumite Coach, Sport Technical Leader

Additional Athlete Quotes:

“Qualifying for Santiago 2023 is an amazing opportunity, and an honour, for me to be able to represent Canada at the highest level. I’m thrilled to experience the Games, connect with other athletes from different disciplines and represent the country proudly. The hard work continues, and I am aiming high for Santiago 2023.”
– Yamina Lahyanssa

“To qualify for the Pan Am Games with all of the other nations is an achievement for me. It is always an honour and an incredible feeling to represent Canada at international karate tournaments. For me, the goal heading into every competition is to win, and that will be the same at the Pan Am Games.”
– Lily-Rose Nolet

“Being selected to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games is a tremendous honour, and a dream that I have had since beginning my athletic career. It is a privilege to be chosen as an ambassador for our nation on an international stage and have the opportunity to showcase the best of Canadian karate. I will embrace this opportunity to be part of Team Canada, competing alongside exceptional athletes and forming friendships that transcend borders and cultures. This accomplishment signifies a commitment to excellence and teamwork, and I look forward to proudly wearing the maple leaf and testing my abilities against top athletes from across the Americas.”
– Ryan O’Neil

Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.

The latest Team Canada Santiago 2023 roster can be found here.



Chris Dornan, Communications Advisor
Karate Canada
C: 403-620-8731

Tara MacBournie, Team Canada Santiago 2023 Sport Communications Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee
C: 647-522-8328

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