Shoulder surgery not holding Lysenko back from Rio 2016 aspirations

The defending Paralympic champion hopes to recover in time for the Rowing World Championships 16 May 2015
Alla Lysenko

Alla Lysenko

ⒸLuc Percival
By By Fran Brown | For the IPC

The strength that helped Alla Lysenko win gold in the London 2012 Paralympic Games has been absent. But the Ukrainian rower hopes it returns in time for the 2015 Rowing World Championships (30 August – 6 September) in Aiguebelette, France.

The two-time world champion was bothered by a shoulder injury during last year’s World Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where she just missed the podium.

“I had some health problems, which became the reason of my failure at the Netherlands’ World Championships,” said Lysenko, who won gold in the London 2012 arms and shoulders women’s single skulls category. “Horrible arm pain, which I was trying to control with painkillers. The championship final was really difficult, and I was afraid I could not to finish at all. All these problems together caused the fourth place.”

Lysenko underwent surgery in her arm earlier this year and plans to fully recover in time for the 2015 World Championships, which serves as a qualification for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. She’s been focusing on rehabilitation exercises, which involves two hours strengthening her injured arm. She does this twice a day, with complete rests in between.

Despite being the defending Paralympic champion, Lysenko acknowledged that others will contend just as much for her crown. And although her injury has set her back from some of her other competitors, Lysenko said her desire to get back on the boat is enough to encourage her on.

“You should never underestimate your competitors,” she said. “You can never know who will be your strongest opponent. That is why races are so exciting. I also worry a lot … because there is competition of such a great level.

"A huge amount of highly professional athletes will come from all over the world. Every time at the competitions, I get such an adrenalin (rush). I cannot describe the feeling with words. You can just feel it when sitting in the boat waiting to start.”