World medallists to feature at National Conference

FOUR LEADING GB ROWERS will take part in the London launch of a national indoor fitness conference tomorrow (Wednesday 13 December) at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, London.

World championships adaptive rowing medallists Katie George Dunlevy and Naomi Riches, who both competed in boats sponsored by Siemens this year, will join Sports Minister, the Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP, at the Westminster-based conference which is designed to highlight fitness initiatives and equipment for those with a disability (The Inclusive Fitness Initiative).

Alastair Mckean and Alan Crowther, also world medallists, will take part in a 500m race-off on indoor rowing machines with Dunlevy and Riches during the course of the morning.  Mckean will link up from Elmbridge Leisure Centre whilst Crowther will be at the Rushcliffe Arena in Nottingham.

All four GB rowers will be hoping to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 when “adaptive” rowing – for those with a disability – makes its debut as a programme sport at the Games.

Britain already has a proud medal-winning tradition at world championships level in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and hopes to carry that into the Games.

The ARA is working with the English Federation of Disability Sport, Sport England and the Department for Health to find new and innovative ways of increasing participation in rowing for those with a disability.  Rowing and Health was launched by the Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Public Health as a legacy of the 2006 World Rowing Championships which took place at Eton in August of this year.

The first adaptive and integrative rowing club was affiliated to the ARA in 1998 and there are now a number of clubs that offer, and are indeed dedicated, to adaptive rowing. Advances in the equipment available for adaptive athletes and the ever-increasing number of accessible rowing venues, has meant that rowing is truly becoming a sport for all.  Great Britain’s success at international level is also proving an inspiration.

Sue Catton, the National Director of the Inclusive Fitness Initiative, is one of the keynote speakers at tomorrow’s conference as is Alison Giles, Department of Health Physical Activity Programme Manager.

For further information (media only) on GB Rowing please contact: Caroline Searle on (01225) 383518 OR (07831) 755351 OR www.biro.org.uk OR caroline@matchtight.co.uk