Rowing makes its Paralympic Games debut in Beijing this September and ParalympicsGB has today named the eight-strong squad for the Games.
Britain will be represented in all four boat classes at this summer’s Paralympics following British performances at the World Championships in Munich in 2007.
The squad includes Helene Raynsford in the women’s arms only single scull.
Raynsford made history by becoming the first ever world champion in the women’s arms only event at the 2006 world championships held at Eton, although has since had to deal with injuries and illness.
James Morgan has joined the leg, trunk and arms mixed coxed four since GB won a silver medal in this event at the 2007 World Championships – after previously winning three world golds. He has been selected for Beijing alongside 25 year-old Naomi Riches, who is the most experienced member of the crew, having been part of the squad for the last four consecutive world championships. The crew also includes Farnborough’s Vicki Hansford, Kent’s Alastair McKean with able-bodied cox Alan Sherman completing the crew.
Ireland’s Karen Cromie took the final place, competing in the trunk and arms mixed double scull.
Louise Kingsley, GB Paralympic Rowing Team Manager said: “Beijing, I’m sure, will be a significant challenge but we are well-prepared and recent training has gone well. We very much look forward to joining the Paralympic Games family.”
ParalympicsGB Chief Executive Phil Lane said: “It’s fantastic to see rowing making its debut at the Paralympic Games. Britain has traditionally been a strong nation in rowing at the Olympics and I look forward to seeing Britain’s Paralympic rowers step up to the plate to continue Britain’s success in this sport.
“All these rowers have proved themselves to be top athletes on a world stage and therefore stand a good chance of medalling in Beijing. I would like to congratulate them on their achievements so far and welcome them to the ParalympicsGB team.”
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games opens on September 6 and closes on September 17. The rowing events at the Games take place at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing Park with the heats scheduled for September 9, repecharges on September 10 and finals on September 11.
At the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, Britain finished second in the medal table with a total of 35 golds, 30 silver and 29 bronze medals. With competitive standards continually rising and the dominant Chinese team taking the home advantage ParalympicsGB recognises that the 2008 Paralympics will be one of its biggest challenges yet.
– but the sailors praise the new boats