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Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 10:30 UK

Helene Raynsford back in GB rowing team after illness


Raynsford returns to rowing

Paralympic champion Helene Raynsford has come out of retirement and is named in the GB squad for the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand.

Raynsford, the 2008 single sculls gold medallist, retired in April because of a cardiac problem.

But she is back in training and will race in the adaptive classes at the event, which starts on 31 October.

"The boat is travelling well and hopefully I can still be quick enough internationally," she told BBC Sport.

"I still have problems but my cardiac drugs have been altered and I've had a rest and built up my training in a kayak.

"I'm doing slightly adjusted training than a rower would normally do but it is helping my heart accept training again and get used to it.

"Things are looking good for me but the real question is whether I will be able to stay well enough to compete and race."

Raynsford struggled with illness in the months before her gold medal-winning race in Beijing two years ago and was ill for a couple of days after her victory where she became Great Britain's first Paralympic rowing champion.

The issues continued last year and after the former ballet dancer was diagnosed with a cardiac problem, she sat out the 2009 season and despite returning to training late last year she was forced to take a break from the sport in April.

"When I had to retire, I discovered that the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young estimate that 12 fit young healthy people die each week because of undiagnosed heart conditions," she added.

"I consider myself very lucky that GB Rowing realised something wasn't right with me and started testing me - otherwise I could have been another statistic."

Raynsford is remaining focused on the World Championships but is refusing to commit to the defence of her title at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Her fellow Paralympic champion Tom Aggar is also named in the team for New Zealand in the men's single scull while the mixed adaptive coxed four features three newcomers in schoolgirl Kelsie Gibson, Ryan Chamberlain and Kate Jones as well as 2009 gold medallists James Roe and cox Rhiannon Jones.

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see also
Strong winds disrupt World Champs
31 Oct 10 |  Rowing
Champion rower Raynsford retires
09 Apr 10 |  Disability Sport
From ballet dancer to Paralympian
02 Feb 10 |  People and Places
Raynsford 'overjoyed' with rowing gold
11 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
Rowers make GB Paralympic history
11 Sep 08 |  Sport
Raynsford explains rowing switch
08 Jul 08 |  Disability Sport
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Disability Sport

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