Sport Week: History of rowing28.07.2016
Para rowing will make its third Paralympic Games appearance in Rio.
Formerly called adaptive rowing, Para rowing was first raced at the 2002 Adaptive World Rowing Championships in Seville, Spain. It consisted of a leg, trunk and arms mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+) competition and a trunk and arms mixed single sculls event (ASM1x), with a total of seven countries competing. Australia won the LTAMix4+ race and the USA’s Scott Brown took the mixed single sculls event.
Subsequently the mixed double sculls event for trunk and arms (TAMix2x) was added to the 2003 World Championships, where it was won by the US crew of Brown and Angela Madsen. The duo went on to dominate the event through to the 2006 Worlds.
It was not until 2006 when the first women’s event was included in the World Championships, which had seven entries and was won by Great Britain’s Helene Raynsford.
In Beijing 2008, the Chinese crew of Yangjing Zhou and Zilong Shan won the first Paralympic medal in the TAMix2x. Italians Paola Protopapa, Luca Agoletto, Daniele Signore, Graziana Saccocci and cox Alessandro Franzetti captured gold in the LTAMix4+.
Great British rowers dominated the singles events, with Tom Aggar winning the men’s sculls and Raynsford claiming the women’s sculls.
Aggar went on to dominate the men’s single sculls event in the run-up to the London 2012 Paralympics, with wins at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 World Championships.
But London 2012 saw new champions. Ukraine’s Alla Lysenko took the women’s singles title, and China’s Cheng Huang beat Australia’s Erik Horrie by a narrow margin in the men’s single sculls; Aggar just missed the podium.
Great Britain did emerge as a dominate force in the LTAMix4+. James Roe, David Smith, Pamela Relph, Naomi Riches and Lily Vane De Broecke (cox) who despite changes to crew members through the years, have continued to own the event with subsequent wins at 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games had 23 countries competing for 12 medals in four boat classes, with a total of 48 boats and 96 rowers entered. The medals were spread among nine countries.
A new event was added in 2013 with LTAMix2x (LTA mixed double sculls), however only four will be contested in Rio 2016, which is expected to feature 96 rowers.
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
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