Australian adaptive rowers prepare as Paralympics looms

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Horrie Training on the 1000m course, Lake Burley Griffin.
Image: Tim Collins.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yarralumla, Australia — Members of the Australian Adaptive Rowing team, consisting of Kathryn Ross, Erik Horrie, and John Maclean, are currently finalising their Australian based training for the paralympics on the waters of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra. Our reporters interviewed Erik Horrie, an arms and shoulder (AS) single scull competitor, who is moving towards his first paralympics. We asked about his preperations, and the sport in general.

Horrie , 32, says that he is hoping for strong results for the team in the preceding third rowing world cup mid June in Munich. 2011, Horrie’s debut year rowing at a national level after a background in wheelchair basketball, saw him place fourth in his first world cup event. In a Canberra winter, temperatures routinely remain sub-zero as athletes prepare, early morning, on the water. Horrie commented that despite conditions, a far cry from those found by his Queensland-based “Dragons” club, he trains six times a week, including strength sessions at the nearby Australian Institute of Sport [AIS] facilities, and cross training.

Horrie on the water, Lake Burley Griffin.
Image: Tim Collins.

Funding for the sport has increased significantly in Australia in recent years, especially since it’s introduction to the paralympics in Beijing. Horrie commented that competitive successes have seen a increase in funding toward the program. A substantial allocation allowed the AIS to host four athletes on site and secure a second fleet of boats for their European base. Rowing equipment comes at a substantial cost with an eight costing fifty five thousand dollars. Finding athletes is a primary focus, especially with the limited pool of disabled athletes to draw upon, and the AIS runs active talent searching programs.

Horrie told Wikinews reporters that despite increasing media attention his focus remains on fun.


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