Yachting Boating World: Team GB’s Paralympic rowing team make history at Rio 2016 after taking three golds and one bronze – their best medal haul yet.
Rachel Morris, who only switched from hand cycling to rowing in 2013, was the first of the team to secure a gold medal.
She beat China’s Lili Wang and Moran Samuel from Israel, to win the arms-shoulders women’s single scull boat.
Morris, who trains at Guildford Rowing Club in Surrey, has previously won gold in the cycling at Beijing 2008 and bronze at London 2012.
Meanwhile in the equivalent men’s event, Tom Aggar took bronze. The 32-year-old made history during Beijing 2008 when he took gold in the first-ever arms-shoulders men’s single scull.
The four-times World Champion is the longest-serving member of the GB Rowing Team para-rowing squad having made his debut in 2007.
Aggar came third in the race after a fierce battle with China’s Huang Cheng. The Ukraine’s Roman Polianskyi took gold and Australian Eric Horrie secured silver.
“I am so pleased to have made that cut and to have got on the podium,” said Aggar.
“The event has moved on hugely since Beijing and it’s an amazing feeling. We did a lot of rehearsals of having to race three times here and I knew I had the fitness so being in the repechage didn’t faze me,” he noted.
World Silver medallists Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley clearly showed why the gold was theirs after blasting from the blocks in the final of the trunk-and-arms mixed double sculls.
The pair beat the world record in their heat and dominated the final to take the top podium spot.
“I don’t think I can sum up the emotions,” said Whiteley, who only partnered with Rowles in 2015 after a two-and-a-half-year search.
“Two and a half years of thinking every day that it would be alright in the end. There were days when I could have walked away some days but for the end prize to be Paralympic gold, I would have done it again in a heartbeat,” he said.
Rowles added: “We beat the world record in the heat and we had confidence that we would do well but every crew out here is incredible so you know that you are not going to win it by miles. We have been putting in hours and hours and it’s so good.”
Meanwhile, Grace Clough, Daniel Brown, Pamela Relph, James Fox and cox Oliver James retained GB’s Paralympic crown in the mixed coxed four.
Making their mark from the start, the team was leading comfortably half way through the race, with clear water by the finish. They won in a time of 3:17.170.