Win-win in Turin for Stratford upon Avon’s adaptive rowers
Stratford upon Avon BC’s adaptive section received a terrific welcome in Turin, Italy when fifteen athletes, helpers and coaches took part in Canottieri Armida’s 16th annual celebration of para-rowing
The two-day event attracted entries from several countries including Portugal and the United Kingdom. Over 150 athletes took part in the racing. Unfortunately, several crews were unable to attend due to an air traffic control strike in Italy.
Commenting on the adaptive squad’s very successful visit to Turin, Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “The welcome that Armida gave our rowers, coaches and helpers shows the international spirit that is so evident in the rowing community. We can learn a lot from their example. Mark Dewdney, our Head Adaptive Coach, presented Armida with a special trophy marking our thanks and lasting friendship.”
Canottieri Armida (Armida RC) is the premier adaptive rowing club in Italy. This commitment has been rewarded with excellent results, medals and selection for their international Para-rowing team.
Mark Dewdney, Stratford’s Head Adaptive Coach, explained, “They have been running a squad for over 20 years compared with our seven years. We are the biggest in the UK with nearly twenty athletes but Armida have eighty athletes!
“Their adaptive team is just part of the club fabric: they focus on those with learning difficulties. You can see these athletes are treated with respect and understanding: they are happy and comfortable in their environment. It is inspirational. We can learn much from them although there are a few areas, I think, where the reverse is also true!”
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Both clubs are working on an integrated mixed ability approach to rowing. The able-bodied and those with a disability training, racing and enjoying the sport together. Taking this one step further, Mark says, “Much of the racing was club versus club but towards the end we mixed everyone up in fours and eights. People with different issues and from different countries racing together: great fun! We hope to be going back next October.”