Sunday, 23 September 2018

Leander’s Relph defends her Paralympic title

LEANDER athlete Pam Relph will be looking for a successful defence of the Paralympic title when

LEANDER athlete Pam Relph will be looking for a successful defence of the Paralympic title when the rowing events get under way at the Lagoa stadium in Rio today (Friday).

Relph is the only surviving member of the crew which took the gold medal at Eton Dorney four years ago.

Also in the line-up are Upper Thames athlete Dan Brown, Nottingham’s Grace Clough, and James Fox of University of London, while Leander’s Oli James occupies the cox’s seat.

Together the GB crew has proved the dominant force in the mixed coxed four, winning successive titles at all three world championships during the current Paralympic cycle.

“I think we are getting better and better — having three world titles is important but the best is yet to come,” she said during a brief break in training on Tuesday.

Defending a Paralympic title can be an added burden as the crew face the final days of preparation. “I think I may be putting a lot of pressure on myself, so I have to rely on the rest of the crew to calm me down,” she explained.

But she was quick to discount the likelihood of another world best time, which her crew recorded at the World Cup regatta in Varese last year.

“A lot of it is down to conditions, and they were perfect in Varese – we’ll just have to see what happens,” she added.

In the para men’s single sculls, Great Britain’s Tom Aggar, Paralympic champion in 2008, lines up alongside the reigning world champion, Erik Horrie of Australia, and 2012 Paralympic champion Cheng Huang of China.

Rachel Morris represents Great Britain in the para women’s single sculls after winning the World Cup regatta in Poznan earlier this season.

The four para-rowing boat classes each have 12 boats from 26 different countries taking part which is an increase on the London 2012 Games where 23 nations competed.

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