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Rowing is easily adaptable and provides athletes with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability the opportunity to be active on the water, get involved in a fun and friendly environment, and participate in competitions. 

Adaptive rowing is suitable for a wide range of persons with a disability, including but not limited to spinal cord injury including paraplegia and quadriplegia; amputations; visual impairment and blindness; cerebral palsy; spina bifida; intellectual disabilities and hearing impairments.

Para-rowing events were added to the World Rowing Championships in 2002 and to the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. Since rowing’s inclusion to the Paralympic programme, the GB Rowing Team has won gold medals in Beijing and in London.


The Scottish Rowing Centre at Strathclyde Country Park is the main centre in Scotland for adaptive rowing, offering regular coached sessions as well as opportunities to come and try the sport.  For more information about getting involved, contact Scottish Rowing on 01698 520206 or email office@scottish-rowing.org.uk


Three functional classifications have been established for competition: 

  • LTA (Mix 4+ & Mix2x)
    • Legs, Trunk and Arms (LTA) is for those who can complete the full rowing stroke using leg drive, body swing and arm action. This category would include athletes who are visually impaired, who have a single lower or upper limb impairment such as an amputation or nerve damage, Multiple Sclerosis, lesser cases of Cerebral Palsy and fused ankles.
  • TA (Mix 2x) 
    • The Trunk and Arms (TA) category includes athletes who do not have use of their legs. They can have the ability to reach forward and lean back, with the movement coming from the hip joint.  This category suits athletes who have good upper body strength and aerobic capacity and may or may not be wheelchair users. Possible disabilities include: double lower limb amputees, lower spinal injuries, Spina Bifida and inability to bend one or both knees.
  • AS (M1x and W1x)
    • The Arms and Shoulders (AS) classification is for athletes who do not have enough trunk function to use body swing from the hips to add to the boat speed.  Athletes compete in a single scull with a fixed seat and back support and chest straps preventing forward motion of the trunk. This classification is suitable for athletes with full use of their arms.  Possible disabilities could be a spinal cord injury or high bi-lateral lower limb amputation.

For more details on classification:  www.worldrowing.com/rowing/para-rowing