Rowers from the USA have collected four wins across distances in the first International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Rowing Cyber Championships.
The competition, which was run virtually over 10 weeks, encouraged countries to submit entries on indoor rowing machines by video. Rankings were published weekly and rowers were allows to enter again to try and better their previous time and that of their opponents.
It was also the first time that athletes with a more significant impairment (II2) and those with high functioning autism (II3) could compete in an World Intellectual Impairment Sport Rowing competition.
The USA saw most success in the men’s II3 winning three distances.
In the 500m, Matthew Houser was the victor in 1:30.0. He led three of his teammates as Luke Arnold (1:47.4) and Cedric Montrose (2:08.5) finished second and third, respectively.
Arnold proved stronger over 1,000m (4:17.3) as a new US athlete entered the fray. Max Constandy (4:42.6) claimed second ahead of Montrose (4:56.2) for his second medal.
Calum Swinford (6:56.4) triumphed for his team in the 2,000m haul as Arnold (7:28.6) rounded off a 100 per cent podium record with second.
The USA also secured a win in the men’s 2,000m II1. Lea Syd (6:51.9) was the victor, leading Great Britain’s Rhys Davies (7:01.6) and another US rower – Bruce Worley (7:43.0).
Davies topped the tables in the 500m event, which proved to be one of the closest of the competition.
The British athlete finished in 1:36.6, just under three seconds in front of Australia’s Russell Macintyre (1:39.5). Worley was third again in 1:42.0.
Macintyre (3:19.8) claimed the 1,000m crown, beating Davies (3:28.7) into second. Portugal’s Nelson Garrote (3:36.8) was third.
In the women’s II1 Paula Santos (2:04.3) triumphed over 500m in front of compatriot Cristina Soares (2:12.8). Another Portuguese athlete, Carla Silva, won the 1,000m with a time of 4:21.8.
The winners in each distance and category will receive a free World Intellectual Impairment Sport competition license for 12 months.
The next major competition for rowers will be the 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games in Brisbane, Australia, from 12-19 October.