By Mike Rowbottom

Oksana Masters_and_Rob_Jones_11-10-121October 11 - United States rowers Oksana Masters and Rob Jones, bronze medallists at the London 2012 Paralympics, have been awarded the 2012 Isabel Bohn Award for Achievement in Adaptive Rowing.

In their first year as competitors in Paralympic rowing, Masters and Jones won both the 2012 Non-Qualified Paralympic Trials and the 2012 Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls prior to winning bronze in London.

Introduced last year, the Isabel Bohn Award is given to a member of the rowing community in the US who has demonstrated achievement in adaptive rowing.

"Where adaptive rowing has come from, and where it strives to go, is an interesting journey for our sport," said Glenn Merry, USRowing chief executive.

"These two individuals represent how someone can come into the sport and make a huge impact on performance, while overcoming personal limitations and being able to maximise the moment.

"Their accomplishments are impressive.

"They not only had to qualify the boat for the US, but also went on to win a medal in a highly contested international field.

"It's an amazing feat and worthy of recognition."

Isabel Bohn_11-10-12Isabel Bohn was the first adaptive competitor at a World Rowing Championships

The award is named after the first recipient, Isabel Bohn, founder and executive director of the Pennsylvania Centre for Adapted Sports.

Since its beginnings in 1995, the Philadelphia based organisation provides sport and recreation programmes for people with disabilities, geared to maximise the health and exercise benefits of physical activity.

As a child, Bohn survived a streetcar collision when she was 10, but the accident required the amputation of her left leg above the knee and several fingers on her left hand.

Despite her physical limitations, Bohn has achieved significant athletic milestones.

Winner of the Louis Braille Award in 2004, she was the first adaptive participant in Philadelphia's Dad Vail Regatta and the first adaptive competitor at a World Rowing Championships.

Bohn was instrumental in the foundation of the Philadelphia Rowing Programme for the Disabled, where she served as chairperson from 1983 to 1984 and again in 1988 to 2008.

She is also a founding member of the Magee Rehabilitation Amp-Peers, a peer-counselling programme for people with amputations.

Bohn has served on the International Rowing Federation (FISA) Adaptive Commission and the USRowing Adaptive Committee.

Oksana Masters_and_Rob_Jones_11-10-12Oksana Masters and Rob Jones won the first ever United States medal in Paralympic trunk and arms mixed double sculls at London 2012

"It is tremendous honour for our boat to be nominated, especially it being only the second year for this award and us still being so new to this elite level of rowing," Masters said.

"It has been an amazing experience, from the training, to meeting all of the adaptive athletes in all the boats.

"Every single one of them is just as much deserving of this award.

"It's going to be tough following in Isabel's footsteps, because of her amazing impact in adaptive rowing.

"Receiving this award is a truly amazing honour and I am so thankful for everyone's support.

"I am also excited for this opportunity for the adaptive rowing community as every year more awareness is brought to the sport."

Jones added: "It is a privilege to be recognised for our achievements, despite only training together for a relatively short time.

"To be included in the same award as people of such a high calibre as Mrs Bohn is an honour."

The pair will receive the honour at the Golden Oars Awards Dinner at the New York Athletic Club in New York City on November 14.

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