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  • Paralympic Champion Grace Clough MBE announces retirement


    09/11/20

    On the four-year anniversary of her golden final in Rio, Paralympic Champion and four-time
    World Champion Grace Clough MBE has announced her retirement from international
    rowing.

    Since joining the GB para squad in 2013, Grace has been an integral member of the PR3
    mixed coxed four. She became Paralympic Champion at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and
    received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours that year.

    “The highlight of my rowing career has to be that golden day in Rio where GB won a medal
    in every boat class,” Grace says. “It was an incredible feeling to be part of such a dominant
    team of athletes and support staff, with everyone working towards one goal and it all coming
    together on the day. We had so many friends and family there and just seeing everyone so
    happy and celebrating the achievement felt amazing.”

    Grace was originally spotted at a ParalympicsGB Talent ID event and nurtured through her
    first strokes in the sport by Dez Atkins and Nottingham Rowing Club.

    She joined the GB squad in 2013 and, after the traditional Para Rowing introduction to
    racing in Gavirate, won her first World Cup in Aiguebelette in 2014. This was swiftly
    followed by a maiden World Title win in Amsterdam later that summer.

    The 2014 season marked the start of an unbeaten international rowing career in which
    Grace went on to claim a further World Cup win in Varese 2015 and three further World
    Championship victories in Aiguebelette 2015, Sarasota 2017 and Plovdiv 2018.

    Amidst all of her successes Grace also racked up World bests on the ergo (Feb 2015) and
    over both on-water race distances (1000m in 2015, 2000m in 2017), not to mention a
    degree from Oxford.

    Reflecting on her time in the sport, Grace said: “I’ve had an incredible journey - from coming
    into rowing as someone who had no idea which way to sit in a boat to becoming Paralympic
    champion in two and a half years.

    “I have to give a special thanks to Tom Dyson for his patience in teaching me how to row. If
    it wasn’t for the support team around me, especially Tom, I would never have won anything
    let alone become Paralympic champion.

    “I step away from the sport having achieved more than I ever thought possible, thanks to the
    funding, support staff and GB setup which enables people to achieve incredible things.”
    Grace is returning to university to train as a secondary school PE teacher, where lucky
    classes of children in Sheffield will have the opportunity to be taught by a Paralympic
    champion.

    “I’m hoping I can use my experiences to show the importance of staying involved in sport
    and staying active after leaving school. Physical activity has huge mental and physical benefits
    and allows you to challenge yourself personally every day.”

    Paralympic Chief Coach Tom Dyson paid tribute to Grace, saying: “I want to thank Grace
    for everything she has brought to the squad over the years and to wish her every success as
    she embarks on a new career in teaching. Her future pupils are extremely lucky to have
    her.”

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