Para rower Pritchard looking for marginal gains at European Championship

·2-min read
Swansea para rower Ben Pritchard, 30, triumphed in his PR1 single sculls repechage to safely navigate his way into Saturday morning’s final
Swansea para rower Ben Pritchard, 30, triumphed in his PR1 single sculls repechage to safely navigate his way into Saturday morning’s final

Ben Pritchard reckons maximising the marginal gains can catapult him onto the European Championship podium, writes Will Jennings in Munich.

The experienced Swansea para rower, 30, triumphed in his PR1 single sculls repechage in splendid isolation on the second day of the multi-sport Munich event to safely navigate his way into Saturday morning’s final.

Pritchard, who narrowly missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games last summer, crossed the line in a time of 10:33.93 to triumph over his Israeli, Spanish, Hungarian and Polish opponents at the city’s 1972 Olympic Regatta Centre.

The Welsh star has recently been battling some blustery conditions and hopes adopting a diligent approach can fuel his pursuit of a medal.

He said: “It was good today.

“We had a little fiddle with some rigging over the weekend to try and tackle this cross wind that keeps cropping up for my races.

“I was sat there this morning thinking it looked better and much easier, but as soon as I started the wind started to whip up again.

“But it was good and I executed what I wanted to do.”

For the second edition in 2022, the innovative multi-sports European Championship brings together the existing championships of the continent’s leading sports into one event that elevates the champions of Europe.

And Pritchard has every chance of grabbing one of the 177 gold medals on offer after his impressive Friday morning display.

Rowing kicked off the 11-day German bonanza on Thursday morning, with cycling, gymnastics and sport climbing also featuring.

Athletics gets underway at Munich’s iconic Olympic Stadium on Monday while triathlon, canoe sprint, table tennis, beach volleyball and para sports also star in the revamped event.

Pritchard hailed the format for its inclusivity and believes following in the footsteps of the Commonwealth Games can be a further force for change.

“For sure, it’s always good when we get to come out of para events and are integrated as part of the wider and able-bodied sport,” he added.

“Watching the Commonwealth Games last week was incredible - watching the para sport events being integrated in a multi-sport event – and here we are again doing the same.

“I’m looking forward to going out and watching some other sports on Sunday and Monday.

“But first, I need to get the final out of the way tomorrow.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website.