Paralympic gold medallist Tom Aggar announces retirement from international rowing

Tom Aggar, Paralympic gold medallist at Beijing 2008 and bronze medallist at Rio 2016, steps away from rowing after 10 years in the boat


Tom Aggar wins gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

Paralympic champion Tom Aggar has announced his retirement from international rowing, having represented Great Britain at the highest level for 10 years.

Aggar was the first ever Paralympic gold medallist in the Arms-Shoulders single scull when he crossed the line first at Beijing 2008 and took his second medal, a bronze, at Rio 2016 last September.

The 32-year-old bows out as one of Britain’s best ever Para-rowers, with four World Championship gold medals to his name, as well as two silvers, and a bronze at the 2015 Word Cup regatta in Varese.

“As I look back on nearly of a decade dedicating myself to the sport of rowing it is hard to forget how it all started,” he said.

“Being told you will never walk again was a hard pill to swallow, and afterwards I felt I had something to prove. Rowing quickly became a huge part of my life and has shaped my life in so many ways.

“Along that journey of pushing the boundaries of what I thought possible I feel I’ve been very fortunate to have been supported by a great team of people at British Rowing all committed to helping me achieve my full potential.”

Having been injured in an accident while studying at the University of Warwick, Aggar took up Para-rowing in 2006 as part of his rehabilitation and to keep fit.

Just a year later he won his first World Championships gold in Munich, beating Australia’s Dominic Monypenny by over a second.

Olympic gold was not far away, with Aggar rowing to victory in Beijing over Oleksandr Petrenko (Ukraine) and Eli Nawi (Israel) the following year.

“The Paralympic movement is continually challenging the perception of disability and what is possible following a life changing injury.”

Aggar’s golden streak continued in the run up to the London 2012 Games, with Worlds wins in Poznan (2009), Karapiro (2010) and Bled (2011), but he couldn’t keep the streak going, finishing fourth in the Paralympics.

He finished second to Australia’s Erik Horrie in both the 2014 and 2015 World Championships before winning a fantastic bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro to round off his remarkable career.

“During my time in the sport I also met my wife [Paralympic athlete Vicky Hansford] with whom I have two small boys. Since her retirement from the sport she has been a constant source of support, along with my mum and dad, who have travelled to almost every major competition.

“I will miss being alongside the rest of the team as they continue pushing themselves on towards Tokyo and the daily challenges that brings, as well as being part of something wider – the Paralympic movement which is continually challenging the perception of disability and what is possible following a life changing injury.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s performance director, said: “Tom has been a pioneer for Para Rowing, winning gold in the single at the first Paralympic Games for rowing in Beijing 2008. It has been great to see Tom develop as a rower over the course of his outstanding decade of service to the GB Rowing Team.

“His physical strength has shone through repeatedly, and his mental fortitude to come back and win a second Paralympic medal after his disappointment at London 2012 has been inspirational to Tom’s fellow rowers.”

Since Rio, Tom has started a job with pharmaceutical and healthcare company PRA Health Sciences.