The UK’s only LGBT rowing club is rowing the distance to Paris to raise money for the upcoming Gay Games in the French capital.
The London Otters has 76 members travelling to compete in the Gay Games this August and to mark the occasion and raise funds for the club, they plan to row from London’s Soho to the French capital.
Club members are set to jump on rowing machines to row the equivalent of 344jm – the distance from London to Paris – this Saturday (July 21) at St Anne’s Church Yard in Wardour Street.
Craig Batton, London Otters club chairman, said: “The London Otters rowing club are so proud to be sending such a large delegation to this year’s gay games in Paris.
“We are sending by far the largest rowing delegation to the Games and have been training hard.
“This is a real opportunity for our members to not only represent the London Otters and the LGBT+ athletes but also the UK.”
This year marks the first competition the London Otters will compete in outside of the UK and will be entering men’s, women’s and mixed boats in both open and masters age groups.
Mike Malyon, London Otters Fundraising Officer said: “We have a long waiting list of people wanting to join our club so this provides an opportunity to raise some much needed funds so more LGBT+ people and allies can get out on the water.”
“Rowing is not a cheap sport which is why it is sometimes considered an elitist sport – this is something we completely disagree with.
“The equipment required, including boats, cox boxes, trailering, blades and safety equipment means it is more financially demanding than other sports but we strive to remain accessible for everyone and not just those that can afford it.”
The Gay Games has been held every four years since 1986 and this year they are taking place in Paris between August 4 and 12.
There are more than 10,000 competitors from more than 80 countries representing the LGBT+ community across 36 different sports.