Pararowing Foundation UK Visit

2 May

The Pararowing Foundation supports adaptive athletes pursue their ambitious around the world and the UK has been fortunately enough to have several of its athletes attend its annual training camp in Avizaqcua Team Center in Avis, Portugal. In 2019, (on his way to becoming a) Paralympian Kingsley Ijomah was hosted, and this year Sudbury’s Sophie Brown attended. But it wasn’t just athletes getting involved, but coaches Robert Mayes from Boxbourne, and David Jillings from Guildford attended to assist with the week

  • PRF’s camp at Avis 2023 involved superhuman efforts by organisers and coaches to give the athletes the best possible experience during their short time in the training environment. The support available included equipment, technical supervision, physical and mental conditioning combined with needs analysis and constant improvement. Alongside this a spirit of shared experience and fun developed as the days progressed, bringing all the participants together into a family that became defined by laughter as much as by performance on the water. Everyone involved returned home better equipped to face and overcome their particular challenges.” – David Jillings
  • It was probably the best experience I have had in the sport of rowing… The fear I had going there is that I had not been around a lot of people with disabilities and so I didn’t know what to expect. But quickly the camp showed me just how capable they are and how easy it is to support them. The cliché is that coaching a para-athlete is the same as coaching a normal athlete, and that’s right. It comes down to communication. They tell you what they can and can’t do. There are small little things that do help and I learned so much being out there. And I am not alone. When I have pushed for getting more people with disabilities involved some people look at you with the fear of God. We make the mistake of looking at people with disabilities like babies. That they need looking after. In some cases, they are more capable than able-bodied, because they are adept at overcoming difficulties…A lot of athletes commented how great it was to row with other adaptive athletes at the camp. It would be good to figure out a way to build critical mass in the UK adaptive community to be able to support activities like this here.” – Robert Mayes

En route back to the USA, PRF founder and trustee Marilyn Koblan and board member Steve Dowd stopped by Marlow Rowing Club to meet with the UK Community Adaptive Group (CAG) founders Mark Dewdney (Stratford-upon-Avon) and Bruce Lynn (Marlow) to share ideas and perspectives on coaching and growing the adaptive side of rowing.

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