Rowing at the Paralympic Games

Rowing made its Paralympic debut at the 2008 games in Beijing. This was a result of its increased popularity at international level, following its first World Championship in 2002. Ever since it has continued to grow, with over 24 nations currently competing. Athletes of all impairment groups, apart from those with learning disabilities, can compete. There are a total of 4 events, which include men’s, women’s and mixed events. Each country can only enter one boat into each competition. The events range from, arms and shoulders only single events, to, legs, trunks and arms only team events.

Each event is a distance of 1000m, as opposed to the 2000m in the Olympic Games. The competition format is a series of heats, followed by the finals. The first boat to cross the finish line wins.

To make a fair contest there are strict rules for those competing in the mixed doubles and single scull events, such as how the athletes are strapped in. The seats in both these events have also been adapted to provide extra support for the athletes.

In the team event there must be two males and two females. Each team can have up to two athletes with visual impairments and the rest must have physical impairments.

Ever since 2005 when the sport was announced to feature in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, it has reached new heights. It has grown in such a short space of time, adding new classes and women events ever since its birth in 2002, when it was known as “adaptive rowing”.

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