Kathryn Ross Para-rowing team

Kathryn Ross returns to the Paralympic stage for the fourth time, as apart of Australia's eight-member para-rowng team. Photo: Paralympics Australia

Kathryn Ross will head to her eighth Paralympics at Tokyo 2020, headlining the eight-member para-rowing team chasing three gold medals.

The eight-member Australian Para-rowing team features experienced two experienced athletes heading to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympics.

2008 Paralympic Silver Medallist Kathryn Ross returns for her fourth games, the four-time world champion has partnered with Simon Albury. The pair is a new combination who qualified at the final Paralympic qualification regatta in Italy back in June.

Erik Horrie will be competing at his third Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Horrie is easily Australia’s most successful Paralympic rower and will be after his first gold medal after successive silver medals in 2012 and 2016.

The mixed coxed four team is filled out by five debutants, Nikki Ayers, Tom Birtwhistle, Alexandra Viney, James Talbot with Renae Domaschenz as coxswain chasing after Australia’s first medal in the event.

Ross welcomed the official announcement, acknowledging the depth the Australian team has this year.

“It’s definitely nice to be able to say that we’re in the Team now, to be able to celebrate a bit before we actually head off,” Ross said.

“You’re in the Team, you know who your teammates are, and that’s the exciting part – working together towards the Games.

“We have some great athletes among us who have plenty of experience. We’re lucky to have that depth, along with some debutants as well, so it’s a real mix that we’re very fortunate to have.”

As one of just a handful of athletes to head to a fourth Paralympics for rowing, Ross enthusiastic about heading to Tokyo.

“I’m one of only four or five rowers in the world who’s been to every Games since rowing was introduced in 2008. It’s very, very exciting. Reaching that personal goal and having that achievement is really nice,” Ross said.

The team has gone through plenty of trials in the past 12-months, Ross emphasised this when speaking on the trouble the team has had training together with teammates and coaches spread out across the country, unable to see one another due to border closures.

The achievement is amplified by the challenges the squad faced, with border closures and lockdowns heavily impacting the group.

“We’re a camps-based Team, but we have people all across the country. For example, I’m in Canberra but my rowing partner’s in South Australia.

“Some are in Victoria, some in NSW, our doubles coach is in Queensland… We’ve really struggled to come together as a team and train for Tokyo, but we’ve done our best.”

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Kate McLoughlin, Australian Chef de Mission expressed how proud she was of the team for their focus despite the setbacks in the past 15 months.

“There’s nothing normal about the journey our Para-rowing Team has been on to reach this point,” McLoughlin said.

“It’s been stop-start, there have been disappointments and major hurdles along the way. Yet, they’ve done it and this squad now has the opportunity to take on the rest of the world in Tokyo. It’s a great display of character and I congratulate each member of the Team on their selection.”

Chief Executive of Paralympics Australia Lynne Anderson is confident that each member of the team has the ability to win Australia’s first Paralympic Gold Medal in Tokyo.

“A Paralympic gold medal has proved elusive so far for Australia in Para-rowing, but I’m confident this group has the talent and the strength of character required to achieve great things when they race at Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo in about six weeks’ time.

“I’d like to thank Rowing Australia, including Para-rowing Head Coach Gordon Marcks and his staff for their dedication in supporting these wonderful athletes to achieve their goals.”

Australian Para-rowing Team

Erik HorrieMen’s Single Sculls3rd (2012, 2016)
Simon AlburyMixed Double ScullsDebut
Kathryn RossMixed Double Sculls4th (2008, 2012, 2016)
Tom BirtwhistleMixed Coxed FourDebut
James TalbotMixed Coxed FourDebut
Nikki AyersMixed Coxed FourDebut
Alexandra VineyMixed Coxed FourDebut
Renae Domaschenz (cox)Mixed Coxed FourDebut

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