Sophie crosses fingers for a GB call-up

Officials from the Mayflower club in Plymouth are hoping that Sophie Harris, a member of their ladies senior squad, will be included in the Great Britain para team following a series of recent assessments and tests at the GB National Training Centre at Caversham near Reading.

The 32-year-old joined the club at the end of 2016 and started rowing with the offshore club in January, one month before she made the decision to have one of her legs amputated below the knee after a birth defect called Talipes and developing complex regional pain syndrome and arthritis.

“Taking up rowing was a focus point to take away from the pain as a distraction that’s proven to be very positive,” explained Harris.
Miraculously she was back in the boat in June after the operation and raced in her first regatta – Torquay’s Pier to Pier – at the end of September.

Harris is currently training hard with members of the Mayflower club, but if she is to secure a place in the GB squad she needs to develop her fine boat skills and, as a result, is looking to join the Dart Totnes club, which is the closest club to her Modbury home.

Although discussions are still ongoing with Totnes, Harris is hoping to sort matters out before Christmas and is also seeking funding for a rowing specific prosthetic limb which she will need to use in the fine racing boats.

Harris is currently in the final 12 candidates looking to make the national team out of an original field of 60, and is one of only four to be classified PR3.

“I’m currently in talks with Caversham and Totnes in the lead up to Christmas whilst continuing with Mayflower,” Harris added.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.