Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Want to Close the Gap with the Olympics; Paralympic Rower Pam on Breaking Down Barriers across the Games

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Want to Close the Gap with the Olympics; Paralympic Rower Pam on Breaking Down Barriers across the Games

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Watts

PARALYMPIAN Pam Relph says she wants to help take the Games in Rio to new heights and "close the gap" with the Olympics.

The rower, 26, who suffers from a form of arthritis, hopes to win her second gold medal by defending the mixed coxed four title she won at London 2012.

But she also wants to close in on the times achieved by Team GB's Olympic rowers in their five-medal haul at Rio.

Relph was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis as a girl, which led to degeneration in her joints and caused the bones of her right wrist to fuse.

Today, she said: "It's an incredible thing to be part of the Paralympic movement and I feel a weight of responsibility to try to push it forward. In as much as I have a disability and I'm never going to go to the Olympics, my disability is a minimal one. I want to see how close I can get and I want to merge that boundary between Paralympic athlete and able-bodied athlete.

"In terms of physiologically, the scores I pull, the weights I lift, how well I row, I think my disability will always hold me back to an extent, but there's no reason why there needs to be that great gap in the middle between Olympic athlete and Paralympic athlete. I'm trying to break down those barriers in training every day."

Relph dreamt of a career as a Royal Engineer but just as she was about to enlist at Sandhurst in 2011 she was medically discharged because of her arthritis. However, her sister Monica, then a member of Great Britain's ablebodied senior women's rowing squad, suggested Relph could use her disability to her advantage and sign up for the Paralympic team.

Relph took to the sport with the same obsessiveness with which she had chased a place in the military. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.