PARALYMPICS: Peterborough rower on his way to Rio

James Fox.
James Fox.

James Fox today (June 30) became the sixth local athlete to be chosen to represent his country at the Paralympics in September.

The British Paralympic Association today selected nine rowers to compete for ParalympicsGB in Rio and former Jack Hunt School pupil Fox was included.

Fox started rowing at Peterborough City Rowing Club aged 11 and rowed for Great Britain at the Coupe de la Jeunesse as a junior. He carried on rowing at the University of London Boat Club while studying Sports Science at Brunel.

He discovered that he was eligible for the para-rowing squad after his coach, Brian Young, attended a coaching conference about talent ID and suggested he got tested.

Fox now trains full-time with the GB para-rowing squad.

He will head to Rio as a reigning world champion in the mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+) alongside his team-mates Grace Clough, Daniel Brown, Pam Relph and cox Oliver James.

Speaking today, Fox said: “It is a real honour to be selected for ParalympicsGB. Racing at World Championships is exciting but being selected to race at a Paralympic Games is something special. It is my first Paralympics and I can’t wait to get out to Rio and crack on.”

Great Britain have claimed the World Championship title in this boat in three consecutive years since London 2012, but Relph is the only returning member of the victorious gold medal crew from the home Games.

The 2015 World Championship final was one of the most thrilling of the overall event with the GB four holding off the Americans by a narrow margin. This event is increasingly competitive on the global stage.

Grace Clough and Dan Brown are the most recent additions to the crew, joining the boat in 2014 for the World Championships that year and contributing to world titles in both 2014 and 2015.

Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission of ParalympicsGB, said: “The GB Rowing Team is known internationally for producing consistently outstanding athletes and crews and this para-rowing team is absolutely no different – today I am delighted that I am announcing such a strong team to join ParalympicsGB for Rio 2016.

“These rowers have proved themselves on the international stage and I am confident they will do the same at the Paralympic Games. I would like to thank all their coaches and support staff at GB Rowing for all their hard work to produce this team.”

The other five locals already selected for the ParalympicsGB team are triathlete Lauren Steadman from Sawtry, footballer Ryan Kay from Stanground, shooter Matt Skelhon from Stilton, cyclist Jody Cundy from Wisbech and wheelchair basketball player Lee Manning from Bretton.