Paralympic Hopefuls for the Future!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club, for the first time, sent athletes to the GB Paralympic Rowing Trials at the weekend at British Rowing’s training facility at Caversham. The trials are invitation only and Jess Dowdeswell and Curtis Dickens were asked to compete

Jess won her event comfortably: she competes in Women’s PR1 Single Sculls. PR1 is where the individual is unable to use their legs – it is often called “arms only” or “fixed seat” rowing. Curtis was second behind the incumbent GB rower in Men’s PR2 Single Sculls. PR2 is where the person has some but very limited use of their legs

The trials test everyone against the Gold Medal Time (GMT), the time that won the last Paralympics in the event. Curtis is much nearer to the GMT in his event than Jess is in her event. As a result, Curtis has been invited to attend two GB Squad training camps: one, for a week, in the UK just before Christmas and the second in France, for a fortnight, starting in late January 2024

Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach commented, “The trials were a first for our adaptive squad: we are pleased with how it went. Curtis is being seen as a prospect to join the GB Squad after the Paris Paralympics in 2024. Jess, at twenty years old is a long term candidate for the GB Paralympic Squad. Our core delivery is to our club athletes: we have sixteen other adaptive athletes who row with some kind of impairment. These are exciting times for us but we will not lose sight of what is our primary purpose which is getting people out on the Avon having fun!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page sixty and Stratford Observer online and back sports page

Toyota GB Community Fund Award for Boat Club

Last week, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad were fortunate to be awarded a substantial grant from the Toyota GB Community Fund. The Toyota Community Fund is a programme of small grants designed to help local charities, clubs and community projects: since its inception in 2011, Toyota GB have supported over 650 projects and provided over £1,100,000. This investment has helped set up and enriched multiple organisations and has supported social focussed projects aimed to benefit health and wellbeing and has also been of benefit those needing increased mobility allowing those with physical impairments to better engage with their environment and aspirations

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach, said, “The award has come at a crucial time for Stratford Boat Club and the adaptive squad. Because of our expansion over the years enabling us to offer rowing to a wider cohort of disabled athletes, we need more specialised equipment and training if members are to attain greater skills and inclusivity. Some immediate expenditure will be made of two sets of specially engineered blades (oars) for the athletes and training courses tailored to their needs”

At the presentation, Paul Stanton, President of Stratford upon Avon Club said, “We are massively indebted to Toyota GB: the award has come about because of our close relationship with Listers Toyota Stratford and their involvement with the Club and especially the adaptive section. This fits well with Toyota GB’s sponsorship and involvement with the Paralympics and adaptive sport: our thanks to Richard Burt, Centre Principal for Listers Toyota Stratford and Joseph Hawkins, Marketing Manager for Listers Group Ltd for introducing the Club to Toyota GB and supporting our application. The relationship goes from strength to strength!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald page fifty nine and