Raynsford forced to retire

Helene Raynsford, the reigning Paralympic Champion, has been forced to retire from the sport because of health issues.

Raynsford, who was world champion in 2006 said: “Post-Beijing I became increasingly unwell and, therefore, unable to train fully and I was diagnosed with a cardiac problem”.

Her decision to retire comes on the eve of this weekend’s planned GB Rowing Team Trials for the Paralympic boat classes.

“Following my final in Beijing it was apparent something was not right”, said Raynsford who transferred to rowing after success with the GB wheelchair basketball team. 

“I have been ill in the past but I have always got better and did not consider for one moment I would not be racing in the 2009 season or have to retire from the sport I love. 

“As I became increasingly unwell and following diagnosis last year, the support team from the GB Rowing Team that has been integral to my success as an athlete worked hard to stabilise my condition and left no stone unturned in a bid to find a way of reintroducing me to training.

“It has been a very difficult decision to retire, my passion for rowing, striving for excellence and drive to be part of the international rowing community is very much still there but I have to let my body recover fully and this is something I can not do while continuing to try to train”, said the 30 year-old from Surrey who will now return to her career.

‘I would like to thank the GB Rowing Team, UK Sport and ParalympicsGB for supporting me throughout my rowing career”, said Raynsford.

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