Paralympians in 80k Challenge

Image of GB Rowers Adaptive Crew with Guide Dogs

The GB Rowing Team Adaptive squad – rowers aiming to compete at the Paralympic Games in 2012 and beyond –  is to embark on a challenge to row 80km on ergometers (rowing machines) to raise money for charity Guide Dogs.

The challenge, which will take place this Sunday (9th January) in Broad Street, Reading, will be undertaken by a squad of current internationals, including Paralympic and three times World champion Tom Aggar, as well as other rowers with a disability who are hoping to be selected for the London Paralympic Games in 2012.

Among those taking part will be the members of the mixed adaptive coxed four (LTAMix4+) that won silver in the 2010 World Rowing Championships in New Zealand. The LTAMix4+ event is for rowers with minimal physical disabilities, including visually impaired athletes. Guide Dogs is an Associate of the GB Rowing Team and has been supporting the development of visually impaired rowers since June 2010.

The challenge represents the distance between Caversham, which is the GB Rowing Team’s training centre, and the Paralympic Village in Stratford. It will commence at 12 noon and will take around four hours to complete. All funds raised will go directly to Guide Dogs.

The distance is made doubly significant because Guide Dogs celebrates the 80th anniversary of guide dogs in the UK in 2011.

Fiona Price, Head of Commercial Ventures at Guide Dogs, said: “2011 is a very special year for Guide Dogs as we celebrate the 80th anniversary of guide dogs in the UK. This challenge is a fantastic way to mark the start of the year for us, raise vital funds and deepen the relationship between Guide Dogs and the GB Rowing Team. We wish the team every success with their challenge!”

David Tanner, International Manager of the GB Rowing Team, said: “We have very much appreciated the support of Guide Dogs in helping us to promote rowing as a sport for the visually impaired. The rowers were very keen to show their appreciation by raising money to help the charity’s wonderful work and we hope that people will come down to Broad Street in Reading on 9th January and not only cheer on the rowers in what will be a tough challenge but also support a very good cause.”

BACKGROUND – to the Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs wants a society in which blind and partially-sighted people enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.

Guide dogs are not the only service we provide. We also supply other mobility services such as white cane training, we campaign to break down barriers preventing blind and partially-sighted people getting about on their own and we fund ophthalmic research.

The guide dog service receives no government or social services funding – it is supported entirely by the generosity of the public.

There are around 4,500 guide dogs in the UK.

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