ltamix4Congratulations to Canada’s Para-Rowing team who won Bronze today in the last event of the day, at the World Rowing Championships in Lac d’Aiguebelette, France, securing a place in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The newly formed crew of Victoria Nolan, Veronique Boucher, Curtis Halladay, Andrew Todd and coxswain Kristen Kit had perfect conditions for the race. “It still doesn’t feel quite real,” said Todd. “We had a great race.” The inexperienced crew gained confidence as the week progressed, learning from each successive round. “We were so prepared for this race,” said Boucher. “Both physically and mentally, we nailed it.”

The last time Canada stepped onto the podium in this event was in 2011, at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

The Para-Rowing Team train in Victoria and last February the first-ever National Para-Rowing Training Centre was opened at PISE. On-water training takes place nearby on Elk Lake, already home to Canada’s National Men’s Rowing Team

The National Para-Rowing Training Centre provides a centralized centre for up to ten para-athletes. This includes Halliday and Cameron Sinclair, who both early in the year broke World Indoor Rowing Records in their para-rowing classifications. The opening of a national centre marks a significant advancement for para-rowing in Canada – in the past athletes trained in their home towns, uniting during the year to train as a team.

The training centre has been made possible in large part by the support of PISE. The contribution includes world class training facilities and access to experts in the areas of strength and conditioning, medical and athlete services, and amounts to $50,000 worth of support to the aspiring Paralympic rowers.

“We are very pleased to provide Rowing Canada with this substantial support for such an important new para-sport national training centre program in Victoria. It is part of our mandate to help develop and support high performance sport in our region, levering our resources with great partnerships such as with rowing towards collective goals of excellence” explained Robert Bettauer, CEO of PISE.

“This advancement for Para-Rowing has only been made possible as a result of PISE’s vision and commitment to becoming a centre for the growth of para-sport at a high performance level. Without a centralized training environment, the options for these athletes to reach the pinnacle of success will always be limited in our sport – PISE has developed a training environment for Para-Athletes that is helping us to make sure that our athletes have every chance of making the podium,” emphasizes Donna Atkinson, CEO of Rowing Canada Aviron.

Paul Hawksworth, Rowing Canada Aviron’s National Para-Rowing Manager, is pleased with the facilities. “The athletes are excited, I am excited, and there is positive energy everywhere. In Victoria we are on the water every day and the athletes can see themselves progressing.”

With the support of PISE, along with funding from Sport Canada, Own The Podium, CSI Pacific and sponsor, Pride Mobility, the National Para-Rowing Training Centre in Victoria has succeeded in its ultimate goal of sending athletes to Rio.

Photo: The LTAMix4+ on the podium in Aiguebelette.
Katie Steenman Images.