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Golden girl returns

Posted on October 31 2016 at 11:03:07

Lauren and kids

Cofton Hackett Paralympian Lauren Rowles returned to Alvechurch Middle School to show off her gold medal and talk to pupils and staff about her achievements.

Lauren, now aged 18, won gold alongside partner Laurence Whiteley in the double sculls rowing event in Rio, despite only having taken up rowing one and a half years ago.

After suddenly losing the use of her legs in 2012 due to the spinal condition transverse myelitis, Lauren was inspired by the London Olympics to become involved in wheelchair athletics and competed at Commonwealth level.

She was also the England under-16s champion at 100m, 200m and 1,500m and captained the Midlands at the UK School Games.

However, she says she started to lose her love for athletics, and a chance meeting offered the opportunity to try something new:

“I was at the hospital having a review, and I happened to meet some Team GB rowing staff – they suggested I give it a go and see if I liked it.”

Lauren teamed up with Laurence Whiteley and made her rowing debut at the 2015 World Championships in France, before they became the first GB crew to qualify for Rio.

Lauren was invited to speak at a special assembly at her former school, where pupils had created a wall display in her honour.

Above: Lauren meets the school’s house sports captains and crew.

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