National Para-Rowing Training Centre Officially Opens at PISE


Paul Hawksworth (left), National Para-Rowing Program Manager, with his athletes.  Robert Bettauer, PISE CEO (second from right) and PISE trainer Jon Ritchot (right).

February 20, 2015

Rowing Canada Aviron and PISE (Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence) officially opened the first-ever National Para-Rowing Training Centre today in Victoria, BC.

The training centre will be based at PISE, with on-water training taking place nearby on Elk Lake, already home to Canada’s National Men’s Rowing Team.

In operation since January 2nd, the National Para-Rowing Training Centre will provide a centralized location for up to ten para-athletes that show a potential of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. This group already includes Cameron Sinclair and Curtis Halliday, two athletes who recently broke World Indoor Rowing Records in their para-rowing classifications. The opening of a national centre marks a significant advancement for para-rowing in Canada. In the past, athletes trained in their hometowns and were only brought together at training camps that occurred periodically throughout the year.

The training centre has been made possible in large part from the support of PISE. The contribution includes world-class training facilities and access to experts in the areas of strength and conditioning and medical and athlete services.  The use of these facilities and the accompanying services amount to $50,000 worth of support to the aspiring Paralympic rowers.

“We are very pleased to provide Rowing Canada with this substantial support for such an important new venture, a para-rowing national training centre program in Victoria.  It is part of our mandate to help develop and support high performance sport in our region, leveraging our resources with great partnerships, such as the one we have with rowing, towards collective goals of excellence,” explained Robert Bettauer, CEO of PISE.

“This advancement for Para-Rowing has only been made possible as a result of PISE’s vision and commitment to becoming a centre for the growth of para sport at a high performance level. Without a centralized training environment, the options for these athletes to reach the pinnacle of success will always be limited in our sport.  PISE has developed a training environment for Para-Athletes that is helping us to make sure that our athletes have every chance of making the podium,” emphasizes Donna Atkinson, CEO of Rowing Canada Aviron.

Athletes have already started congregating in Victoria to train, and Paul Hawksworth, Rowing Canada Aviron’s National Para-Rowing Manager, is pleased with how things are progressing.

“We are already ahead of where we were last year,” Hawksworth notes.  “The athletes are excited, I am excited, and there is positive energy everywhere.  We are on the water every day, the athletes can see themselves progressing and so we’re all looking forward to the upcoming summer season.”

While the training facility will provide much-needed support, more funds are still needed to ensure that a full Paralympic squad qualifies for the Rio 2016 Games, only 18 months away.

“Our rowing community has really come together to identify and support these para-rowers who are training hard and who are already showing that they are of a world-class caliber. However, ensuring that they can travel overseas to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games is an expensive exercise and we are seeking additional support,” said Atkinson.

Individuals can make a donation and receive a charitable tax receipt by following this link.

The first chance Canada has to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is at this summer’s World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France.

With the support of PISE, along with funding from Sport Canada, Own The Podium, CSI Pacific and sponsor, Pride Mobility, the new National Para-Rowing Training Centre in Victoria will go a long way to helping the athletes reach their potential, with the ultimate goal of competing in Rio.

For more information contact:

Annabel Kehoe – Director of Business Development, Rowing Canada Aviron – Phone: 604.499.7494

Paul Hawksworth – National Para-Rowing Program Manager, Rowing Canada Aviron

Robert Bettauer – CEO, PISE – Phone: 250.220.2512


Para-Rowing at the Paralympic Games

– It was announced in 2005 that Para-Rowing would make its Paralympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games.

– Canada has fielded a Para-Rowing Team at both the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Paralympic Games. The team has yet to win a Paralympic medal.

– Para-Rowing has been included at the World Rowing Championships since 2002 and Canada won a gold in 2010 in the LTAMix4+ eve

– The events at the Paralympic Regatta include:

    ASM1x: Arms and Shoulders men’s single

    ASW1x: Arms and Shoulder women’s single

    TAMix2x: Trunk and Arms mixed double

    LTAMix4+: Leg, Trunk & Arms mixed coxed four

– Races at both the Paralympics and World Rowing Championships are held over 1000m.

About Rowing Canada Aviron

Rowing Canada Aviron is a non-profit organization recognized by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national governing body for the sport of rowing in Canada. Rowing Canada Aviron represents 15,000 registered members of all levels and ages, whether they row for recreation, health and fitness or competition. | |

About PISE (Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence)

PISE is a world-class sport institute and an independent not-for-profit organization located on the Camosun College campus on Interurban Road. As a legacy of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, the Institute brings together excellence in community sport and active healthy living development, sport and exercise education, sport technology research, and world-class athlete performance services. PISE, in collaboration with its partners the Canadian Sport Institute and Camosun College, serves the community, students, Canadian international high performance athletes and coaches from across the region, province and country within a state-of-the-art facility and throughout the CRD region.