Stratford Boat Club take part in Armida RC's 16th annual para-rowing celebrations in Turin
FIFTEEN rowers, coaches and helpers from Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad flew out to Italy to take part in a popular celebration of para-rowing.
The club received a warm welcome in Turin, where they were among several other clubs from other countries taking part in Armida RC’s 16th annual two-day event.
More than 150 athletes took part in the festival, with most of the races being club versus club but towards the end everyone was mixed into fours and eights.
Stratford’s head adaptive coach Mark Dewdney said: “Armida have been running a squad for over 20 years compared with our seven years.
“We are the biggest in the UK with nearly 20 athletes, Armida have 80 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. There are a few areas, I think, where the reverse is also true.”
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.
Dewdney added: “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 was great fun. We hope to be going back next October.”