KEEN COMPETITOR: Paralympic gold medallist Lindy Hou at the Queensland Indoor Rowing Championships at Kawana yesterday.
KEEN COMPETITOR: Paralympic gold medallist Lindy Hou at the Queensland Indoor Rowing Championships at Kawana yesterday. Patrick Woods

Indoor success in a row for Lindy

PARALYMPIAN Lindy Hou is always up for a challenge.

After an operation to repair ongoing knee issues in 2012 the visually impaired athlete started strengthening her knee on the rowing machine.

The gold medallist in para-cycling thought she would take her rehabilitation a step further and entered an indoor rowing competition on the Sunshine Coast.

A year on, the Canberra woman is competing again in the 50-54-years age group and has sliced eight seconds off her personal best in the 2000 metres at the Queensland Indoor Rowing Championships at Lake Kawana Community Centre.

"In indoor rowing it doesn't matter, doesn't matter your age. We have people here from eight to 80 (years old), male or female, regardless of your ability or disability, it is a really great sport," Ms Hou said.

"You don't have to worry about weather conditions or the boat tipping."

Louise Connell, of the ACT, competes in 2000m for 40-44-year-old women.
Louise Connell, of the ACT, competes in 2000m for 40-44-year-old women.

Ms Hou has a degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa and began losing her sight in the mid-1980s.

She is now almost totally blind.

Always an athlete, she previously enjoyed team ball sports but her failing sight put a stop to it.

"I actually took up triathlons, not realising the condition would get worse," she said.

Moving into cycling at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, she won gold, silver and a bronze and in 2008 in Beijing she won silver and a bronze.

She joined the challenging sport of indoor rowing that opens up the possibility of excelling physically for all ages and abilities.

There were more than 100 competitors from across Australia rowing at the championships at Kawana.

"It doesn't matter how fit and how strong you are, all that matters is that you give it your best and just have go," Ms Hou said.

The competition continues today.

Check out the sport at http://www.qldir.com.au.

Sunshine Coast Indoor Rowing Club president Wendy Coghill.
Sunshine Coast Indoor Rowing Club president Wendy Coghill.

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