Rowing team for London 2012 Paralympic Games announced

At London 2012, British rowers won a fantastic gold medal in the mixed coxed four event. The crew comprised Naomi Riches, the only rower who also competed in the bronze medal-winning four in Beijing, as well as reigning World Champions Pam Relph, James Roe, Dave Smith, and cox Lily Van den Broecke.

RowingThere was last minute drama just before the race after equipment failure in the boat, but the five athletes kept their cool, quickly fixing the problem and regaining concentration on the race ahead. Initially behind at the both the 250m and half way points, they moved past leaders Germany to cross the line first.


Tom Aggar, gold medallist in Beijing four years previously, went into London with an undefeated record in international rowing. However, in a race that tested him to his limits, he finished outside of the medals in 4th.

The BPA worked closely with British Rowing to identify rowers for the mixed Double Scull event. Sam Scowen took up rowing through the joint programme run by the BPA and Deloitte called Parasport and from there she went to a ParalympicsGB-run Paralympic Potential Day. Sam’s partner Nick Beighton was also identified through a ParalympicsGB Paralympic Potential Day. The crew fought for a bronze medal but were ultimately pipped by a fast finishing USA duo. 

  • First year at a Paralympic Games:
  • Beijing 2008
  • Brief history:
  • FISA introduced adaptive rowing on a World Championship level at its 2002 World Rowing Championships in Seville, Spain, when 38 athletes competed in the men's single scull and the coxed four. At the 2003 World Rowing Championships in Milan, Italy, the mixed double scull was added with the women's single scull first raced in 2006. As a result of its popularity at world level, rowing was introduced to the Paralympic Games in Beijing and has continued to grow, with now over 24 nations competing.
  • Eligible impairment groups:
  • All impairment groups except athletes with learning disability are eligible.
  • London medal table:
  • 1 - China (two gold)
  • 2 - Ukraine (one gold, one bronze)
  • 3 - Great Britain (one gold)
  • GB medals in London:
  • Naomi Riches, Pam Relph, James Roe, Dave Smith, and cox Lily Van den Broecke, gold, mixed Coxed Four
  • Did you know:
  • GB’s Grace Clough was first talent-spotted at a ParalympicsGB Sports Fest in April 2013.
  • London 2012 venue:
  • Dorney Lake, Eton Dorney
  • Rio 2016 venue:
  • Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Copacabana Zone)


There are four events on the Paralympic rowing programme: the men’s arms and shoulders only single scull (ASM1x), the women’s arms and shoulders only single scull (ASW1x), the trunk and arms mixed double scull (TAMix2x) and the legs, trunk and arms mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+). Strictly speaking, the coxed four is the only ‘rowing’ event. The others are sculling events, where each athlete uses two oars rather than one.

Each national federation is only allowed to enter one boat in each event.

All events are raced over 1000m, rather than the 2000m that is the standard distance in Olympic rowing. As with Olympic rowing, the precise progression system depends on the number of entries. Generally, competitors race in heats and repechages before going on to contest the finals.

The first boat (measured from the bow-ball of each boat) to cross the finish line is declared the winner.

Athletes competing in the mixed double and the single scull events must comply with strict rules on how they are strapped into their boat to ensure that competition is fair.

Seats on both the mixed double and single scull events are fixed and are adapted to provide additional support to the athletes. The single scull boats are also equipped with buoyancy devices to provide additional lateral balance to the boats.


Coxed four rowers must be able to use a sliding seat to propel the boat. In the four, a maximum of two rowers with visual impairment are allowed per crew. Of these two rowers, only one may be classified as a B3. The other rowers in the crew have physical impairments. There must be two rowers of each sex in the crew. The cox can be of either sex and is not required to have an impairment.

In the double scull event, rowers who are not able to use a sliding seat, who have functional use of the trunk but who have weakened function or mobility of their lower limbs will compete.

Single scull rowers will have no or minimal trunk function and are reliant on their arms and/or shoulders to propel the boat.


The BPA would like to see lots of people engaging with the news and information that we post on our website. If you would like to participate in the conversation, however, please ensure you comply with the House Rules. The BPA reserves the right to remove posts which do not comply with these Rules or which are considered irrelevant to the post.

Back to top