Double Paralympic champion Pam Relph announces her retirement from rowing

Pam Relph, gold medal winner in the LTA mixed coxed four at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, is retiring from international rowing

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Grace Clough, Dan Brown, Pamela Relph, cox Oliver James and James Fox won LTA mixed coxed four gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Pam Relph, rowing’s first double Paralympic champion, has announced her retirement from international competition.

The 27-year-old won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in the LTA coxed four, helping Great Britain top the medal table in Brazil last year.

Relph also stood on the top step of the podium at four World Championships between 2011 and 2015, meaning she won a World or Paralympic gold medal for six consecutive years.

“I feel so proud to have been able to represent my country for the past six years and though it was a hard choice to make to move on from the sport, I feel so excited about life after sport,” she said.

“I have had the pleasure of rowing with some amazing athletes during my rowing career and I will miss being part of the best rowing team in the world.”

Relph had planned to join the Army in the Royal Engineers, but her young career was ended by arthritis. She went on to study physics at the University of Birmingham, graduating in 2011.

The previous year, Relph was introduced to rowing by her sister Monica – a former GB rower herself – and finished second at the British Indoor Rowing Championships just four months later.

“The one thing I definitely will not miss is the blisters. I tried for six long winters to toughen up my hands but to no avail.”

In 2011 she won the first of her four World Championship golds, joining Naomi Riches, David Smith, James Roe and Lily van den Broecke in the LTA coxed fours in Bled.

Paralympic gold followed in front of her home crowd at London 2012, followed by three more World Championship successes between 2013 and 2015.

Relph completed the golden Paralympiad in 2016 when she, James Fox, Grace Clough, Daniel Brown and Oliver James crossed the line first in Rio de Janeiro.

“The one thing I definitely will not miss is the blisters. I tried for six long winters to toughen up my hands but to no avail. I even had tape on my hands during the Paralympic final in Rio! I’m looking forward to baby soft hands, racing the Virgin Money London Marathon in April, and planning my wedding.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s performance director, said: “Pam has been a real inspiration for Paralympic rowing over the past sixyears, helping our LTA coxed four become a dominant force in the sport. As a double Paralympic Champion, Pam’s dedication and winning mentality will be missed by all those in the Great Britain squad and to upcoming rowers across the country.”

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