By Will Jennings
James Rudkin helped fire Britain’s men’s eight rowers to a memorable multi-sport European Championship medal in Munich.
The Litchborough star, 28, was part of the crew that toppled the Netherlands on Saturday morning to cap a golden day for the British team in Germany.
The triumph marked one of four gold medals as Rudkin joined forces with Rory Gibbs, Morgan Bolding, David Bewicke-Copley, Sholto Carnegie, Charles Elwes, Tom Digby and Tom Ford to grab glory at the 1972 Olympic Regatta Centre.
The crew beat hosts Germany in their first race on Thursday before downing the Dutch, Italians, Germans and Romanians to defend their 2021 title.
Rudkin said: “I’m feeling really good – that was awesome.
“For myself, Fordy and Charlie to defend that title from last year, and for all these new guys to come in and win the eight again, is awesome.”
Digby, 24, added: “I’m so proud of the whole team event and what we did today.
“I think it’s absolutely great for the team – with Covid, it’s been a long time coming to build into a big season with the World Championships on the horizon.
“For those coming back from the Olympics, they had a point to prove – so all of that energy means it’s really special for everyone, from the support staff, coaches, parents, families and the team itself.”
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 Rudkin helped Britain grab one of the 177 gold medals on offer after a brilliant Saturday 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 and beach volleyball also star in the revamped event.
Britain’s rowers are loving being a part of it and believe the multi-sport format will amplify their achievement on the German water.
Rudkin said: “It’s far bigger than any World Cup we’ve ever gone to and far and anything else we’ve ever raced.
“It’s been awesome – the organising committee have been great and it’s been brilliant to be a part of.”
Carnegie, 27, added: “It’s really exciting to be in a multi-sport European Championships – there’ a massive buzz around the whole event.
“We kept it quite focused – we’ve got a really exciting project and we’ve got to keep building it, but also take in tense moments.
“It’s really special to be in these moments with your best mates and winning.”
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