British Rowing has today launched a nationwide search for talented athletes to join the GB Para-Rowing Team.
The campaign has been launched to strengthen the pathway into the GB Para-Rowing Team which, despite having won 50% of all Paralympic rowing gold medals since rowing was introduced to the Paralympic Games at Beijing 2008, will only have athletes competing in three out of four Paralympic boat categories in this summer’s Games.
British Rowing is taking action now to find the next generation of talent to carry the team forward into Paris 2024 and beyond. The campaign, called GB Para-Rowing: Not for Everyone, showcases the athleticism and toughness of the current members of the GB team and tells the stories of their journeys into rowing.
Ultimately, the campaign challenges anyone who thinks they may have the required physical and mental attributes to step up to the challenge of becoming a Paralympian.
British Rowing has a strong track record of helping talented athletes reach their potential in para-rowing; Paralympic Champion Lauren Rowles and World Champion Ellen Buttrick both came through British Rowing’s para-rowing talent identification programme.
Elite level sport requires full commitment and finding the Paralympic champions of the future can be like finding a needle in a haystack. For this reason, British Rowing is asking the public to help spread the word about the campaign as far and wide as possible. Rowles, who won Paralympic Gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, tells her remarkable story in the campaign, saying: “Five months after I took my first strokes I was on the start line of a World Championships, winning a silver medal and qualifying the boat for the Paralympics.
Eighteen months after those first strokes, I won a gold medal with my partner Laurence Whiteley in those Rio Paralympic Games.” Buttrick joined the programme after the Rio 2016 Paralympics and marked her international debut by becoming World Champion in 2018. She says she would encourage anyone who is considering signing up to do it: “What I’d say to somebody thinking of starting rowing, is to just come and give it a go. I’ve been the new person in the team and everyone was very welcoming. If you come in and are prepared to work hard and be a team player then you’ll fit right in.”
British Rowing is looking for potential para-rowers who would be eligible for any of the rowing classifications for the Paralympics. The classifications are broad and encompass a wide range of disabilities. No rowing experience is required but, particularly in the PR3 classification, potential athletes might already be rowing in a community club.
To sign up, find out more or to download tools to help share and promote the campaign – please visit britishrowing.org/para.