Rowers pull together to celebrate Paralympic Handover

EFDS CEO with ARA National Manager

Over 100 people got together on Wednesday to celebrate the Paralympic Handover in style at the YMCA in Plymouth. Pupils from eight schools in the area took to the 18 rowing machines in a relay to notch up a target of 147,000 metres.  The children worked so well that this target was raised to 200,000 metres halfway through the event, and even this higher target was smashed as the final metres rowed totalled 262,000!

Non-disabled and disabled pupils, sports leaders, sports development officers, partnership development managers and representatives from Active Devon, Amateur Rowing Association (ARA), English Federation Disability Sport (EFDS), Sport England, Team South West and Team Devon all proved that sporting success is achieved when a team works effectively together.

Pete Grainger, Principle of John Kitto Community College said ‘We are delighted to have been involved in the Paralympics handover day. We believe that encouraging youngsters of all abilities to get involved in sport is very important as it can be key to promoting a healthy lifestyle. There are now so many different activities available to youngsters that there is something for everyone.’

Neil Roberts, Chief Executive of Active Devon added ‘A very very big thank you to all of the organisations involved in this event and all the pupils who took to the rowing machines, for the tremendous work and effort made to make this event so successful.’

The organiser of the event was Active Devon’s Club Development Officer Sharon Letori and Tom Pattichis from the ARA, both of whom thank local schools for the loan of rowing machines and the RDA and Sport England for funding to run such a successful event.

In addition to celebrating the Paralympic Handover of the games, from Beijing to London, the event marked the signing of a Partnership Charter between the ARA and the EFDS.  Against a backdrop of students and staff rowing to victory, Rosemary Napp, National Manager of ARA and Colin Chaytors, CEO of EFDS, signed the agreement (pictured above).

Rosemary said ‘Rowing is very proud of the wonderful achievement of our athletes in Beijing, winning two golds and a bronze medal in their first appearance at the Paralympic Games.  We now have a great opportunity to demonstrate that rowing really is a sport for all.’

Colin added ‘Our target is to drive up participation in disability sport in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Success in sport comes through teamwork and together we can make a difference so that disability sport enjoys a higher profile and a more focused effort before, and long after the 2012 Games are over.’

Jim Clarke, Regional Director Sport England South West ‘What an inspiration it was to see all the young athletes rowing so well and to reach such a fantastic cumulative total of 262,000 metres. The competitive sport element was certainly alive and kicking in Plymouth and lets hope we see that talent fully developed and encouraged as we head towards 2012.’

Photos of the event from the Active Devon photo gallery 

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