Tokyo 2020: Who is Ellen Buttrick? The Leeds paralympic rower and human rights activist competing in the Games

Buttrick is set to compete in the Games later this month.

By Abi Whistance
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 3:37 pm
GB Para-rower Ellen Buttrick photographed at the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, Caversham. Photo: British Rowing
GB Para-rower Ellen Buttrick photographed at the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, Caversham. Photo: British Rowing

The 26-year-old, who belongs to Leeds Rowing Club, is a British rower competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics this year.

Read More

Read More
Leeds paralympian Ellen Buttrick is rowing for gold in Tokyo

Initially Buttrick began rowing as an able-bodied athlete near her home in Leeds after seeing people row at Roundhay Park.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But when she began her geography degree at Northumbria University she was diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration (JMD), an inherited eye disorder.

Buttrick suffers from a type of JMD known as Stargardt disease, a disorder that affects the retina, specifically a small area near the centre called the macula.

Intent on creating a career out of rowing, she gained her classification as a PR3 athlete and later joined the GB para-rowing squad, training alongside Paralympic champions Grace Clough and Dan Brown.

Buttrick went on to become a World Champion in the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four, defending her title at the 2019 World Championships in Austria.

The geography graduate also works part-time for the resettlement programme at the Refugee Council in Leeds, helping Syrian families to settle in Yorkshire.

Speaking of the Leeds athletes competing in the Games, Leeds City Council's Salma Arif said:

“We are extremely fortunate and proud to have some truly wonderful Paralympians representing the city in Tokyo, who over many years have worked incredibly hard and shown such amazing determination and talent.

We wish them the very best of luck competing on one of the world’s greatest and most iconic sporting stages.”

You can watch Ellen Buttrick compete in the Games from 27 August in the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four rowing event.

See the full schedule for the Games here.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.