Helene Raynsford of Great Britain.
Paralympic racing starts on Friday 31 August, at 9:30 a.m. at Eton Dorney, outside of London. Finals will be raced on Sunday 2 September. A total of 23 countries will be represented by 108 Paralympic rowers competing in one of the four Paralympic boat classes. FISA writes in a press release:
The four Paralympic boat classes are the AS women’s single sculls (ASW1x), the AS men’s single sculls (ASM1x), the TA mixed double sculls (TAMix2x) and the LTA mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+). There will be 12 crews racing in each of these four events, representing a total of 48 boats.
Brazil and Ukraine have qualified crews in each of the four Paralympic boat classes, with six nations having qualified three crews each.
Qualification began in 2011 at the World Rowing Championships, where the top eight finishers in each boat class qualified a spot for their country at rowing’s second ever Paralympic Games. At the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta this year in May, a further two Paralympic spots were attributed to the top two crews in each event. The final two entries in each event are invitational and have been allocated by the Bipartite Commission composed of representatives of FISA and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
FISA’s “adaptive” rowing, has been part of the World Rowing Championship programme since 2002 and, in 2005, the IPC announced the inclusion of rowing into the Paralympic Games. At the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, rowing’s first Paralympic Rowing Regatta was staged. FISA has “adapted” the boats so that the adaptive rowers can compete in the same sport with the same field of play and rules.
2008 Paralympic Champion in the AS men’s single sculls, Tom Aggar of Great Britain, a former rugby player, will be aiming to win gold once again in front of a home crowd. He has not lost a single World Championship since appearing on the international rowing scene in 2007.
In the AS women’s single sculls, only a few 2008 Paralympians will be lining up once again in London. Beijing silver medallist from Belarus, Liudmila Vauchok, will aim for the podium once again. Vauchok is also a multi Winter Paralympic Champion. Strong contenders will be 2009 and 2011 World Champion from Ukraine, Alla Lysenko, as well as 2010 World Champion and 2009 and 2011 world silver medallist Nathalie Benoît from France.
In the TA mixed double sculls, China was the Paralympic Champions in 2008. In London, the Chinese athletes racing this year will be different from those who won gold in Beijing. Xiaoxian Lou and Tianming Fei have only competed once internationally before these Paralympic Games, when they became World Champions last year in Bled, Slovenia. They will be facing Australia (whose Kathryn Ross rowed to silver in Beijing) and Brazil (whose Josiane Lima won bronze in 2008).
The reigning World Champions in the LTA mixed coxed four are Great Britain, having won gold in 2009 and 2011 and silver in 2010. Their London line-up is different to the one that won bronze in Beijing with only Naomi Riches continuing in the boat. Their toughest competition is expected to come from Canada who were World Champions in 2010.
To view the entries and provisional timetable, please click here.