Swansea student selected for Beijing 2008
A Swansea University Sports Science student has been selected to represent Great Britain at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
James Roberts, aged 22, from Prestatyn in Denbighshire, will be competing in the trunk and arms mixed double scull (TA2x) with teammate Karen Cromie.
James, who has just completed the first year of his Sports Science degree, said: “I’m overjoyed at being selected for my first games. It’s every sportsman’s dream to compete at this level, and I’m really looking forward to taking part.”
Before being asked to take up adaptive rowing by Disability Sport Wales, James swam for the GB Development squad in 2004 and 2005. He has now been rowing for two years and this is just his third competitive season.
Adaptive rowing is rowing or sculling for competitors who have a disability; although adaptive means that it is the equipment – and not the sport – that is adapted to the sportsman.
2008 marks rowing’s debut in the Paralympic games, and James and Karen are part of a nine-strong squad fielded by GB Rowing.
“Our main competition is from Australia, Brazil, China, Poland and Italy,” said James.
“But training is going well at the moment, and the boat is getting quicker every day.”
“Our training regime entails two or three sessions a day, six days a week. We will normally have one or two water sessions a day, as well as weights sessions on top of that.
“The Paralympic rowing squad will be at a warm weather camp in Banyoles, Spain, from August 2-18. Banyoles is home to the 1992 Olympic Games rowing lake, so facilities should be superb.”
The rigorous training schedule has placed additional demands on James’ time, and he admits that it can be a struggle to balance his sport with his studies.
He said: “If I’m honest, rowing is impacting on my studies because I have had to take lecture notes and revise by myself whilst training in Reading. However, the University’s Sports Science department is very supportive and has answered any questions I have had on the modules.”
Dr Steve Mellalieu, who lectures in Sports Science at Swansea University, said: “We are all delighted that James’ hard work, commitment and determination has resulted in selection for the Games. He deserves every success and we wish him well in Beijing.”
For more information about Sports Science at Swansea University visit the department's website.