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Paraplegic Woman to Row across Indian Ocean


  • Published: 2008-12-12 (Revised/Updated 2009-02-12) : Author: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Long Beach rowing enthusiast Angela Madsen intent on setting speed record for rowing crossing the Indian Ocean.

Long Beach rowing enthusiast Angela Madsen expects to join a crew
intent on setting a new speed record for crossing the Indian Ocean. The route is 3,100 nautical miles, from Geraldton, on the western coast of Australia, to Port Louis on the island of Mauritius.

Long Beach rowing enthusiast Angela Madsen expects to join a crew intent on setting a new speed record for crossing the Indian Ocean.

Madsen became the first paraplegic and woman with a disability to row across the Atlantic when she completed the row in 66 days, 23 hours and 24 minutes in 2007. Her rowing partner, France's Franck Festor, is an amputee.

At present there are only two people who have completed an entire crossing of the Indian Ocean: Anders Svedlund crossed it in 64 days in 1971 and Simon Chalk crossed it in 107 days in 2003.

The route is 3,100 nautical miles, from Geraldton, on the western coast of Australia, to Port Louis on the island of Mauritius.

The race is scheduled to start April 19, in an effort to avoid the cyclone season that typically ends in February or March. The race also will coincide with the Indian Ocean Rowing Race 2009.

The local fishing fleet - as part of a week of maritime celebrations - will escort the rowing boats from the coastline and past a reef system some 60 miles offshore.

Teams from all over the world will compete solo and on two- and four-person teams.

Four-member teams should complete the crossing in about 60 days, and pairs should be complete it in about 80 days.

Madsen's adventure is another chapter in a life of overcoming physical challenges. She had back surgery in September 1993 to correct an injury she suffered while on duty in the Marine Corps. Surgery complications resulted in disabling injuries when a drill or screw pierced her spinal cord.

Over the years, Madsen has undergone a double mastectomy for breast cancer, and more surgery for carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve problems. She has been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, but medication has kept it under control.

Madsen has also been competitive in wheelchair basketball leagues and longboard surfing.

She's an expert rower, specializing in adaptive rowing techniques - those used by people who have physical challenges.

Madsen has gone on to become founder and director of California Adaptive Rowing Programs and a USRowing Level III rowing coach, and she has been a member of the U.S. National Adaptive Rowing Team since 2002, rowing in this year's Paralympics in Beijing, China.

Updated information - Paraplegic Angela Madsen Joins Crew Attempting to Row Across Indian Ocean

Those interested in helping fund Angela's quest can send donations to California Adaptive Rowing Program, 3350 E. Seventh St., No. 231, Long Beach 90804.

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