The International Mixed Ability Sports organisation hosted the first ever “Virtual Rowing Festival” last week which strove to push the boundaries of inclusivity in the sport of rowing as far as possible.
Here is an overview of the event from IMAS:
IMAS have been working with rowing clubs to develop Mixed Ability rowing in the UK – Mixed Ability is an inclusive approach to sport, which has been endorsed by British Rowing, and will be offered as a pathway to inclusivity in their upcoming adaptive rowing guide and online training. The Mixed Ability Model differs from disability-specific activities or provision as it includes people facing a whole range of barriers to participation, including physical and learning disabilities, physical and mental health conditions, age-related barriers, low confidence, and many other personal circumstances. It offers an alternative approach to those who may not feel that adaptive rowing is for them, and/or do not want to follow elite-level (e.g. Paralympic) pathways. Watch this video to find out how Mixed Ability has transformed Bradford Amateur Rowing Club: https://youtu.be/6znAf6KuJis. During our Virtual Rowing Festival, we will be offering the following free workshops for clubs, coaches and rowers who are interested in finding out more about the benefits of Mixed Ability Rowing:
All in the Same Boat: Introduction to Mixed Ability Rowing [“Welcome IMAS Virtual Festival”]
Tuesday 20 April, 17.00 – 18.30 UK time via Zoom.
- Keynote speech by IMAS ambassador Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY
- Introduction to Mixed Ability
- Case study research presented by Dr Jen Dyer, University of Leeds
Top Tips Workshop [“Top Tips for Mixed Ability Rowing”]
Thursday 22 April, 17.00 – 18.30 UK time via Zoom.
- Getting started
- IMAS Certification/Accreditation pathways
There will also be the option to take part in our inclusive virtual regatta, with prizes available for inclusive approaches. Clubs and coaches can also book a free drop-in session with a member of the IMAS team to discuss how Mixed Ability could work in their specific setting.
One strong feature of the programme were the testimonials from a number of Mixed Ability athletes who shared their very personal experiences. The event also included a number of videos which provided rich illustrations of MAS in action. A post child for this approach is Bradford Amateur RC (which I have covered here once before – http://adaptiverowinguk.com/index.php/2019/08/06/mixed-ability-rowing-resource/). Dr Jen Dyer presented the BARC experience supported by a number of their athletes. She also shared this useful publication about their experience – “All in the Same Boat: Mixed Ability in Practice”
The Festival also awarded some recognitions for the appropriately diverse participation through the day:
- Most Creative Activity – Turin, Italy
- Most Club Involvement – Statford-upon-Avon
- Most Inclusive Approach – Marlow RC (YouTube video of MRC’s MA 4+ outing below)