Western Australian rowers Brock Ingram and Davinia Lefroy have today been named on the Australian Paralympic Team for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
The duo will both make their Paralympic debut as members of the Australian mixed coxed four (LTA) crew, with Australia sending a boat in this event for the first time.
Rio will be just the third Games in which Paralympic rowing events have been contested, with selection open to athletes with a physical or vision impairment in sweep rowing or sculling disciplines.
Athletes are divided into three classes (arms and shoulders only, legs, trunk and arms, trunk and arms) based on their level of physical impairment and compete using a para-rowing boat.
Australia’s eight-strong squad is aiming to add to the total of two silver medals the country has won previously at Paralympic level and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) CEO Lynne Anderson believes the athletes selected will rise to the occasion.
"This will be the third time that rowing is contested at a Paralympic Games, and if one of those boats can finish off the four-year cycle with a gold, that would certainly make our country a power house in the sport.
"Competition in Rio will be tough, but I know these eight athletes won’t shy away from a challenge, and I look forward to seeing some, if not each of them face their flags proudly on the podium,” she said.
Ingram at 39, had an unexpected change of direction in his Rio ambitions, after the national representative kayaker made a switch to rowing, after his disability classification was dropped from the sprint canoe event schedule for 2016, seemingly ending his hopes.
As a schoolboy rower, Ingram quickly made the transition and helped Australia qualify the mixed coxed four at selection event in Italy last April.
Ingram lost a finger and some use of the remaining three in a work accident as a drill rig operator on a Kambalda gold mine.
Lefroy will debut at 35 years of age and at age 11 was diagnosed with stargart macular dystrophy, which caused deterioration of her central sight, leaving her with only peripheral vision.
Outside of rowing, Lefroy is a clinical psychologist and enjoys practising yoga and walking her dog.
The selection of Ingram and Lefroy has taken Western Australia’s officially selected Paralympic numbers to four, with the Games in Rio starting on September 7.