April 11, 2013: Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is pleased to announce its first Para-Rowing Centres of Excellence partnerships in an effort to support the growth and quality of the sport across the country.
The three centres are:
• Row Nova Scotia in partnership with metro Halifax clubs
• ROWONTARIO and the Argonaut Rowing Club (Toronto)
• Rowing British Columbia and the Vancouver Rowing Club
The goal of the centres is to build successful para-rowing programs. "These centres represent Rowing Canada's commitment to the development of club para-rowing in Canada, and Sport Canada's commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to participate and succeed in organized sport," said Paul Hawksworth, RCA's Para-Rowing Co-ordinator.
The centres now have funding to develop and execute plans to make para-rowing sustainable at the club level, including active recruiting, equal opportunities to participate and train, and provide race opportunities.
"Row Nova Scotia is very pleased to be selected by Rowing Canada Aviron as the Para-Rowing Centre of Excellence for eastern Canada," said Peter Webster, president of Row Nova Scotia. "This provides a great opportunity for us to work with our member rowing clubs in metro Halifax to continue developing their current programs and to expand para-rowing into a robust and sustainable sport well into the future.” In Ontario, the partnership involves the Argonaut Rowing Club, one of the first clubs in Canada to champion rowing for people with disabilities.
"ROWONTARIO and Argonaut Rowing Club are very excited to have been named as a Rowing Canada Aviron Para-Rowing Centre of Excellence. With our ability to draw on Canada’s largest population base in Toronto and the surrounding regions (GTA), the launch of the partnership between RCA, RO and ARC will provide us with the opportunity to engage with various PWAD organizations to a level we have never been able to before. With this opportunity, we are very confident that will we will be able to identify, recruit and develop a great number of para-rowers, including those that will be our next Paralympians," explains ROWONTARIO Executive Director Derek Ventnor. Rowing BC's Para-Rowing coach Martin George agreed: "These Para-Rowing Centres of Excellence are a fantastic way to develop para-rowing across Canada. Rowing BC and the Vancouver Rowing Club are very excited to be chosen by RCA to partner in this project."
Previously called “adaptive rowing”, para-rowing is rowing or sculling open to both male and female athletes with a disability who meet the criteria set out in the international rowing federations (FISA) Para-Rowing Classification Regulations. The sport is practiced by athletes in at least 27 countries from five regions and continues to grow. It was introduced into the Paralympic program in 2005 and held its first Paralympic events in Beijing in 2008. At the second appearance of rowing at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, 23 countries competed for 12 medals in four events with a total of 48 boats and 96 rowers.
Media contact: Jackie Skender
Para-rowing contact: Paul Hawksworth