Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s para-rowers attended Oxford City Royal Regatta at the weekend. Two rowers, Mark Sanders and Steve Binns, were competing in their first races. There were eight disabled rowers in the morning event from Stratford, Marlow, Peterborough and Oxford itself.
Steve Binns, a paraplegic, had a tough first round against a sculler from Marlow Rowing Club losing by two lengths. Mark Sanders however defeated a spirited sculler from the City of Oxford Rowing Club by the same margin.
In his semi-final Mark, a visually impaired rower, had a tremendous race with another sculler from Marlow. He was behind until the final few strokes, finally winning by just three feet. This put him through to the final. Here he was to face a familiar face, Kingsley Ijomoh, who until recently was a Stratford para-rower. Kingsley had moved down to South East last autumn and is now racing for Marlow Rowing Club. An epic final resulted in another tight fight. After the crews crossed the line there was an agonising minute long wait for the result to be announced. Again Mark had won by just three feet, steered by Joe Moore from Stratford Boat Club.
Steve Binns competed in the afternoon Plate event. Sadly again beaten by two lengths, this time to an Oxford sculler.
Said Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive coach,”The regatta was applying a new system to try to ensure close racing across a range of disabilities: this proved hugely successful with a large number of very close finishes. Stratford upon Avon Boat Club welcomes adaptive rowers with all disabilities.”
For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/para-rowers-take-centre-stage and p39.
After the disappointment of the cancellation of the Warwick Boat Club regatta at the weekend due to high winds and inclement weather, Stratford Boat Club are gearing up for a busy Bank Holiday weekend at the Ross Rowing Club regatta when all squads will meet local and national rivals. Closer to home, Stratford Boat Club launch drivers will be assisting Stratford upon Avon Rotary Club (Evening Group) with their charity fundraising duck race (http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/shakespeare-duck-race-preparing-make-splash-2) at 14.00hrs on Saturday at the weir by Holy Trinity Church.