Para-Rowing: Sheffield girl Grace Clough breaks world record at British Indoor Rowing Championships

Grace Clough  GB para rowing team with her brother
Grace Clough GB para rowing team with her brother
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Grace Clough, from Sheffield, already a World Champion in the mixed para-rowing coxed four, added a World record to her collection at the British Rowing Indoor Championships.

The former High Storrs School pupil set an LTA Overall world record of 3:28.6 for 1000m at the event staged in the Olympic Velodrome at Stratford, London.

Paralympic Champion Naomi Riches had set the previous best mark of 3:30.1.

“I didn’t realise I’d done it at first but apparently it is a world record. I’m delighted,” said Clough afterwards.

She added: “It’s the first time I have been to an indoor event and it is very exciting. There is strong competition from the others I train with in the GB squad, so I had to put in a good performance. It’s good to be the one that came out on top.”

Tom Aggar, current World silver medallist and 2008 Paralympic Champion in the arms-shoulders single scull won the men’s title here in the same category.

He clocked 3:58.3 and later said: “The time was a little bit slower than I would have liked but I am going to come back next year and improve it.”

Rachel Morris, former hand-cyclist turned international rower won the equivalent women’s event. “It is really exciting to see so many people doing rowing and the integration of para-rowing into the event is great.”

Doncaster Schools Rowing Association also made a very successful debut at the British Rowing Indoor Championships taking home two gold medals to South Yorkshire.

Their Coach Lyn Taylor brought four youngsters to the Lee Valley Velo Park in London for the day, and says it was well worth the visit: “I’m thrilled to bits, for a club such as Doncaster, we are gradually building up our junior membership and we’re very proud. This venue is fantastic and they were all very excited to take part.”

Sam Turnhill won the Boys Junior Yr 7 event, rowing 565m in two minutes, more than 25 metres ahead of his closest opposition. He was surprised with the gold medal and said: “I didn’t think I’d come away with a medal, but I did, it was really tough and I have really enjoyed it. It was worth the journey to London, and exciting being in the velodrome.”

The club’s second gold came from Sarah Beevers, who raced 1434m within the five minute limit, of the Junior Yr 10 event, more than 40m clear of her closest competitor. 15 years of age, and 6ft 2, Sarah’s been training in the Performance squad.

She said: “It pretty much met my expectations, the atmosphere was great and everyone was cheering. I’ve only been training for this for two weeks, and I really wanted to win, but wasn’t sure I would. When I got on the ergo it was exactly like it was back in the club.”

Lyn Taylor thinks experience like this today is unique: “It’s beneficial because it shows them the high level of competition and it’s an experience being at an Olympic venue. I think it spurs them on and they’re more encouraged to row after being here. What I have learnt is that we could have brought more of our rowers down, as looking around they could have compared favourably. You live and learn.”