Sport Week: Rowing storylines to follow

Heading into the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, here are five storylines you should watch for. 31 Jul 2016
The Zimbabwean para LTA coxed four training in Gavirate, Italy.

The Zimbabwean para LTA coxed four training in Gavirate, Italy.

ⒸDetlev Seyb/World Rowing

As the sport makes its third Paralympic appearance in Rio 2016, here are some storylines to be mindful of:

1. Can Moran Samuel land her first Paralympic gold?

After finishing fifth at London 2012 and second at the 2014 World Championships, the Israeli rower grabbed the spotlight in 2015. Samuel took her first world title, showing the strongest boat in her ASW1x class in the early heats and then winning by nearly two seconds over her rivals. But Great Britain’s Rachel Morris and Norway’s Birgit Skarstein recently showed strong forms in June’s World Cup in Poznan, Poland, and will surely keep Samuel on her best stroke in Rio.

2. Who will win the men’s arms and shoulders single sculls?

At this point, the ASM1x event appears to be anyone’s race. Although Australia’s Erik Horrie (reigning world champion, London 2012 silver medallist) and Great Britain’s Tom Aggar (four-time world champion, Beijing 2008 gold medallist) have the glittering resumes, Ukraine’s Igor Bondar has not been far off the podium and is surely in search for a break onto the top.

3. Can the USA spoil Great Britain’s dominance in the LTAMix4+?

While Great Britain has consistently had a strong boat in this class – winning three consecutive World Championships since London 2012 – the USA proved to be challengers at the 2015 Worlds in Aiguebelette, France. In the finals, both boats were ahead of the rest of the field, with the US having a one-second advantage at the 500-metre mark. However Great Britain pulled through in the final 500m to win by a fraction of a second. The next big stage they would meet on again is Rio.

4. Who can stop Australia’s TAMix2x boat?

Australia’s Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross have been rowing partners since their fifth-place finish in London 2012 and the duo have since won the three World Championships that followed in their sport class. But the French crew of Stephane Tardieu and Perle Bouge also carry years of experience together and have motivation from their silver-medal finish in London. They won the World Cup event in Poznan, displaying strong form for September’s Games.

5. How much has the sport developed since its debut at Beijing 2008?

The sport debuted in the Paralympics in Beijing 2008 and has since been working to widen its reach around the world. Rio 2016 is expected to see a 13 per cent increase in number of participation nations, from 23 at London 2012 to 26 in Rio. New nations such as Kenya and Zimbabwe are entering boats in the Paralympic Games for the first time ever. It remains to been seen how Latin America’s first Paralympic Games can impact the sport. But if one thing is certain, the competition has been getting tougher and tougher.

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on 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.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.