Successes at the Paralympic Games 2016

Monday, 12 September 2016

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An Oxford Brookes alumnus and future Law student each won a gold medal in their respective events at the Paralympic Games 2016 in Rio.

Jozef Metelka, who studied sports and coaching and lives locally in Abingdon, won the C4 four-kilometre individual pursuit for his home country of Slovakia, while rower Lauren Rowles took the top spot in the final of the double sculls for Team GB.

Jozef is a professional ski instructor and elite cyclist who turned to professional cycling in 2013. He lost his lower left leg after a motorbike crash in March 2009 and now has 12 specially-made prosthetic legs which allow him to compete in cycling races around the world and continue to take part in his much-loved sporting activities such as snowboarding, running and rollerblading.

If you’d have told me four years ago from when I was sitting in a hospital bed watching London 2012 that I’d be here now winning a Paralympic gold medal, I’d have said “no chance”.

Lauren Rowles, future Law student, Oxford Brookes University

Speaking to the Mail Online in 2013, Jozef said: “Losing my leg was the worst thing which could have happened to me but I have made the best of it and thankfully the technology is there nowadays.

"I have been helped by some very good people and I truly believe that there is nothing I can’t do.”

He has previously achieved a World Champion title and a world record.

Lauren was 13 when in February 2012 she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare paralysing condition that developed overnight. After winning her medal, she said: “If you’d have told me four years ago from when I was sitting in a hospital bed watching London 2012 that I’d be here now winning a Paralympic gold medal, I’d have said “no chance”.

“This medal means absolutely everything to me.”

The performance was even more impressive given that Lauren and team-mate Laurence Whiteley have been training for just 18 months.

Lauren trains with Oxford Brookes alumnus Nick Baker who is a High Performance Coach for Team GB’s Paralympic Rowing Team.

You can watch a video of Nick talking about his career and preparations for the Paralympic Games in Rio on our Rio mini-site.