Adaptive rowing is rowing or sculling for rowers with a disability who meet the criteria set out in the adaptive rowing classification regulations. Adaptive implies that the equipment is “adapted” to the user to practice the sport, rather than the sport being “adapted” to the user.
The International Rowing Federation (FISA) is the sole world governing body for Rowing, and the sport is practiced by athletes in 24 countries. It was introduced into the Paralympic program in 2005 and held its first Paralympic events in Beijing in 2008.
Adaptive rowing is open to male and female rowers, and the Paralympic Games program includes three boat classes: LTAMix4+ (mixed coxed four), TAMix2x (mixed double), ASW1x (women’s single scull) and ASM1x (men’s single scull).
The LTA4+ and TA2x are mixed-gender boats. Races are held over 1,000 metres for all four events.
The International Rowing Federation (FISA) is the sole world governing body for rowing at www.worldrowing.com.
Canada’s National Sport Federation is Rowing Canada Aviron at www.rowingcanada.org.
Rowing competitions are open to both men and women with the following physical disabilities: amputee, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, and les autres (MS, MD, Polio, and SB). Different types of disabilities can be accommodated within the same rowing crew allowing integration of athletes with different disabilities.
Paralympic rowers fall into one of the following three classification areas: LTA, LT, or A.
LTA (Legs, trunk and arms): Rowers with a disability who have use of their legs, trunk, and arms, and can utilise a sliding seat. LTA rowers must meet at least one of the following:
- Amputation: At least one single foot amputation at the metatarsal tarsal joints or three fingers of one hand
- Neurological Impairment equivalent to incomplete lesion at S1
- Cerebral Palsy Class 8 (CP-ISRA)
- Blind: 10% of vision in best eye with best correction (from visual acuity above 2/60 up to visual acuity of 6/60 and/or a visual field of more than 5% and less than 20%)
- Intellectual impairment: INAS-FID April 2005 criteria
TA (Trunk and Arms): Rowers who have trunk movement but who are unable to use the sliding seat to propel the boat due to significantly weakened function of the lower limbs. Eligible TA rowers would typically have a minimum disability equivalent to at least one of the following:
- Bilateral around knee amputation, or impaired quadriceps
- Neurological impairment equivalent to a complete lesion at L3 level, or an incomplete lesion at L1
- Combination of the above, such as one leg with around knee amputation and one leg with quadriceps impairment
- Classification by the international sports federation for athletes with cerebral palsy (CP-ISRA) as eligible to be in CP Class 5
A (Arms Only): Rowers with minimal (i.e.: shoulder movement only) or no trunk function. An A class rower is able to apply rowing force through the use of just their arms and/or shoulders.
Eligible Class A rowers typically have a minimum disability equivalent to at least one of the following:
- Cerebral Palsy Class 4 (CP-ISRA)
- Neurological Impairment with a complete lesion at T12 level, or an incomplete lesion at T10