The draw is done and the Rio scene is set

Rachel Morris will be the first GB rower to race on the Lagoa de Freitas tomorrow at the 2016 Paralympic Games when her heat of the arms-shoulders women’s single scull starts at 12.50 BST.

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The Rio Paralympic squad. Copyright: OnEdition

Rachel Morris will be the first GB rower to race on the Lagoa de Freitas tomorrow at the 2016 Paralympic Games when her heat of the arms-shoulders women’s single scull starts at 12.50 BST.

Morris is drawn in lane 1 in a heat which features former World Champion, 2015 World finalist and local favourite Claudia Santos of Brazil.

The Guildford rower has made remarkable progress since transferring to the sport from hand-cycling in early 2013 and whilst she admitted to always having a few pre-race nerves she said: “I will focus on the moment and the processes and only worry about my own performance”.

She also had praise for the Rio set-up:   “The Village and the Lagoa venue are both really top quality and the Rio committee have done a fantastic job getting everything ready for us”.

Tom Aggar races in the equivalent men’s event and is also a World silver medallist and 2008 Paralympic Champion but underlined the progress made by the sport since winning that inaugural Paralympic gold in Beijing.

He said:   “It’s crazy, I was only thinking the other day that I am one of the few survivors of the Beijing Games in terms of athletes.  The sport has changed dramatically since then. The standards just to qualify are pretty high and to medal the standard has moved on too.

“The sport has become more professional across all the events and the bandings are so much tighter. Medals are so much more hard fought and the races are much closer so from a spectator point of view, it is exciting racing to watch.  But when you are out there it’s really stroke by stroke, side by side, top racing”.

The Londoner races in heat two at 13.30 BST and will line up on the start line with  the reigning World Champion, Erik Horrie of Australia, with only one place available in Sunday’s final and all other contenders racing a repechage on Saturday.

Heat two of the trunk-arms mixed double scull could also be a GB v Australia affair.  Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley are World silver medallists but a very new crew on the international scene.

Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross beat the GB duo by just under a second in France last year to take World gold setting the scene for an exciting heat tomorrow including contenders from China and the Ukraine. Only one crew can go through to the finals.

Rowles only took up rowing in early 2015 after  switching from athletics.  She has also juggled A level studies this year with training for Rio.

Recently she talked of  her passion for her “new” sport and said:  “The first moment that I got in a boat I knew that it was for me. It was amazing, I loved the sense of freedom and, maybe, if I’d carried on with athletics I would have made progress but this the sport for me”.

Pamela Relph, Grace Clough, Daniel Brown, James Fox and cox Oliver James are the World Champions in the mixed coxed four and will keep a wary eye on China and South Africa who could prove the main opposition in the heat.  They will be favourites, though, to move into Sunday’s final direct.

Channel 4 will carry a highlights package of tomorrow’s racing in their afternoon show between 16.00 – 19.00 BST.  Fans can follow the action through live graphics on the www.worldrowing.com

Results will be posted on Twitter via @gbrowingteam

 

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Crew List

Rachel Morris – Women’s Single Scull

Home town: Farnham

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Guildford RC

 

Tom Aggar – Men’s Single Scull

Home town: London

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Marlow RC

 

Lauren Rowles – Mixed Double Scull

Home town: Bromsgrove

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Marlow RC

 

Laurence Whiteley – Mixed Double Scull

Home town: Northallerton

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Tees RC

 

 

Oliver James (cox) – Mixed Coxed Four

Home town: Henley-on-Thames

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Leander

 

Grace Clough – Mixed Coxed Four

Home town: Sheffield

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Nottingham RC

 

James Fox – Mixed Coxed Four

Home town: Peterborough

Main training base: Caversham

Club: University of London

 

Pam Relph – Mixed Coxed Four

Home town: Aylesbury

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Leander

 

Daniel Brown – Mixed Coxed Four

Home town: Reading

Main training base: Caversham

Club: Upper Thames Rowing Club

Contact Info

For background information about the The GB Rowing Team contact the Press office via comms@gbrowingteam.org.uk or 07831 755351

For picture requests please contact: GBRTpressoffice@gbrowingteam.org.uk

GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk

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