Adaptive Rowing

Adaptive Rowing events were included in the World Rowing Championships in 2002 and in the Paralympic programme in 2005 and were first held in the Beijing Paralympics in 2008.

It is open to male and female athletes in four boat classes. All four events are over 1,000m. The equipment is “adapted” to the athlete rather than the sport being “adapted” to the athlete.

Para-Rowing is rowing (one oar per rower, known as sweeping) or sculling (two oars per rower) open to rowers with a disability who meet the criteria set out in the Para-Rowing Classification Regulations and Bye-Laws. The sport is practiced in at least 27 countries from 5 regions and continues to grow. At the 2012 London Games there were 23 countries competing for 12 medals in four events and a total of 48 boats and 96 rowers. Nine countries shared he medals.

Para-Rowing is closely integrated with the International Rowing Federation (FISA), and Para-rowers participate alongside Olympic athletes in FISA World Cups and World Championship regattas each year.

Under FISA rules there are three categories for adaptive rowers:


Legs, Trunk, Arms

Use of at least one leg, trunk and arms. Also for those with visual and intellectual impairments. Rowed with standard boats and sliding seats.


Trunk and Arms

Only use of trunk muscles. Boat has fixed seat.


Arms and Shoulders

Limited trunk control. Boat has fixed seat and rower is strapped at upper chest level to only allow shoulder and arm movements.

FISA events have 5 boat events:

4+ Mixed LTA (the only coxed event)

2x Mixed LTA

2x Mixed TA

1x Men AS

1x Women AS

Half the crew must be male and other half female in mixed events (the coxswain may be of either gender and may be able bodied). With the Arms and Shoulders category, single shells must have stabilising pontoons attached to the riggers.

An LTAMix4+ crew may include a maximum of two rowers whose disability is visual impairment, only one of whom may have a sport class of LTAB3.

An LTAMix2x crew may include a maximum of one rower whose disability is visual impairment and that rower may be either LTA-B1 or LTA-B2.

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This page is derived, in part, from the following sources: World Rowing, Paralympic Rowing, and the Wikipedia page Adaptive Rowing.

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