New faces are expected to headline the rowing scene, with many seeking their first Paralympic gold medals in Rio de Janeiro. Here are six boats to look out for at the Games this September
Igor Bondar (UKR) – ASM1x
Bondar first began rowing in 2011 and has been a consistent top-three finisher in his event. He competed at the 2012 World Cup in Munich, Germany, where he missed the podium with fourth place but showcased his talent ahead of the following year’s World Championships. There, Bondar had the strongest start and seemed poised for gold but could not hold off eventual champion Erik Horrie of Australia.
Taking bronze at the 2015 World Championships, where he finished just a fraction short behind Great Britain’s Tom Aggar, Bogar showed stride in June, being the strongest boat at the World Cup in Poznan, Poland.
Erik Horrie (AUS) – ASM1x
Horrie has excelled over the past three seasons, completely dominating the ASM1x. With wins at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships, he is a favourite for gold at the Rio 2016. But a shoulder injury has plagued him in 2016, leaving uncertainty around his readiness by September.
Moran Samuel (ISR) – ASW1x
It took five years, but Moran Samuel finally landed her first world title at the 2015 Rowing World Championships, and it came just in time to prove she is the one to beat at Rio 2016. The feat was an upgrade from the silver medal she won from 2014 edition.
Picking up the sport in 2010, Samuel finished fifth in her first Paralympics in London but much has changed since.
Rachel Morris (GBR) – ASW1x
Morris took the silver medal behind Moran at the 2015 Worlds but showed improvement this past June in Poznan. Lining up against similar boats she would see in Rio, Morris took the gold medal, which certainly gives her a psychological advantage over rivals Samuel and Norway’s Birgit Skarstein. Rio 2016 will be the first time Morris has competed at a Paralympics in rowing having won previous gold and bronze medals in cycling.
Great Britain – LTAMix4+
Representing the team will be Grace Clough, Daniel Brown, Pamela Relph, James Fox and cox Oliver James. It is the same crew that won the 2015 World Championships, Great Britain’s third consecutive in the event since London 2012. Relph is the only returning crew member from the London 2012 gold medal boat. The team added Clough and Brown in 2014 and they seemed to make a difference. The 2015 Worlds final featured a thrilling win, as they beat the USA by .26 seconds and can expect to meet again in Rio’s final.
Australia – TAMix2x
Trunk and arms mixed pair of Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross are the reigning world champions. After claiming Australia’s first Paralympic medal in the sport at the Beijing 2008 Games (where Para rowing debuted) 35-year-old Ross narrowly missed out on a podium finish in London with Bellis. But after partnering together over the past years, their chemistry is expected to help them upgrade from that silver medal.
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.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
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