London, UK – After much anticipation, the Paralympic rowing regatta begins Friday at the same venue near Windsor, England, that hosted the successful Olympic competition a month ago.

Joan Reid (Enderby, BC) will be in the first race of the day at 9:30 am local time in the arms only women’s single (ASW1x). She will face scullers from Hungary, Belarus, Korea, South Africa and Brazil.

“Joan has raced all but two (Belarus and Korea) of these scullers,” said Jeff Dunbrack, lead Para-rowing coach for the Canadian team. “We are looking forward to seeing where she stands in this field.”

The top sculler goes directly to the final, while the others go to the repechage round to attempt to qualify.

Canada’s 2011 World silver medal legs, trunk, and arms (LTA) mixed coxed four races later in the morning in the final heat of the day tomorrow, also with the top crew advancing directly to the A final.

This seasoned crew is Anthony Theriault (Nanaimo, BC), David Blair (Ottawa, ON), Victoria Nolan (Toronto, ON), Meghan Montgomery (Winnipeg, MB) and coxswain Kristen Kit (St. Catharines, ON).

The reigning World Champion in the LTA mixed coxed four is Great Britain, having won gold in 2009 and 2011 and silver in 2010. Canada won the Worlds in 2010 in a tight race with the British crew.

“With the four having GB in its heat, it will be a good test to see how our speed is versus that crew,” explained Dunbrack. “We are also interested in seeing what speed the U.S. has, as they will be in the other lane beside us, and we haven’t raced them yet this year.” Ireland, Belarus and France are also in this heat.

Adaptive rowing has been part of the World Rowing Championships since 2002 and, in 2005, the International Paralympic Committee announced the inclusion of rowing in the Paralympic Games, appearing for the fist time in Beijing in 2008. FISA has “adapted” the boats so that the adaptive rowers can compete in the same sport with the same field of play and rules. The Paralympic distance is 1000 metres (compared with 2000 for the Olympic regatta), but the venue (Eton-Dorney) is the same as the Olympic regatta.

Today the course had windy and cool conditions, but the weather is expected to improve over the weekend.

Results will be posted at :