Rowing Australia (RA) has welcomed the announcement by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) that the Rowing Regatta at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games is being expanded to include a fifth boat class.
The PR3 Mixed Double Scull has been instated as a Paralympic discipline for Paris, which will increase the total number of rowing athlete positions from 96 at the Tokyo Paralympics, to 104 for Paris, maintaining an equal number of women’s and men’s events, as was the case in Tokyo.
The event joins the PR1 Men’s Single Scull, the PR1 Women’s Single Scull, the PR2 Mixed Double Scull and the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four to offer a total of five rowing medals at Paris.
The PR3 Mixed Double Scull is already raced at the World Championships and eligible athletes are excited to see this boat class on the schedule for the first time at the Paralympic Games.
Rowing Australia Head Coach Para-Rowing Gordon Marcks said Australia has a strong talent pool of PR3 athletes who would look to challenge for Paris selection.
“It’s created quite a lot of interest amongst eligible PR3 athletes, both domestically and internationally who have welcomed the expansion to the Paralympic rowing program. This is the first time since 2008 when rowing was first introduced to the Games that we’ve seen an increase to the number of medals on offer,” Marcks said.
“Australia already has a strong group of scullers competing within the PR3 sport class and Rowing Australia’s Passport2Paris talent identification program will now seek to identify even more eligible athletes to the sport for Paris and beyond.
“While the new event is classified a PR3 boat, it does have a higher impairment requirement than the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four and not all PR3 athletes will meet the eligibility requirement for the PR3 Mixed Double Scull.
“For those athletes who do meet the eligibility requirements, it’s enormously exciting that they have other options in the Paralympic program and I’m confident of Australia’s ability to field highly competitive crews,” Marcks concluded.
PR3 Paralympian Nikki Ayers said the addition of the Mixed Double Scull would make the category more inclusive.
“There’s a broad range of impairment in the PR3 category and it can be harder for athletes with a more severe impairment to qualify for the Four. Having the Double at the Paralympics will open up the class to more athletes,” Ayers said.
“It also has the potential for greater representation across the competing nations. Countries without an eligible number of athletes for the Four can now display what they have in the Double,” Ayers concluded.
World Rowing is expected to publish qualification criteria in the first quarter of 2022.