Unity is strength for emotional British rowing squad after Queen's death

·2-min read
Pritchard safely advanced to World Championships PR1 men’s single sculls semi-finals after finishing second in his heat with a time of 9:36.89.

By Alec McQuarrie, Sportsbeat

Swansea rower Ben Pritchard has explained how the British rowing squad are sticking together for emotional support at the World Championships following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Paralympian safely advanced to Friday’s PR1 men’s single sculls semi-finals after finishing second in his heat with a time of 9:36.89.

The former cyclist and triathlete, who won European bronze in Munich last month, has taken plenty of encouragement from how the squad have started in Racice but says the mood in the camp has been solemn.

“It’s been a bit hard really because obviously, like the rest of the country, we’ve been mourning Her Majesty’s death,” said Pritchard.

“I think that’s played a big part in the atmosphere. It’s a bit sombre at the moment.

“Everyone’s grouped together and everyone’s come together. We are trying to keep our emotions in check because we’ve got a job to do as well.”

Pritchard was not the only member of the British para squad to enjoy success on Monday, with both the PR3 mixed four and the PR3 men’s pair booked their place in Friday’s finals after winning their heats.

“It’s been really good to see the guys racing,” said Pritchard. “It’s the first time that the four will be doubling up in the pair as well.

“It’s good to see that the work we’ve done this year is paying off. The guys yesterday absolutely smashed it – the pair and the four.”

Pritchard cruised home in his heat with a 34-second lead over third-placed Takuya Mori but knows there’s still room for improvement.

“It’s good to get the first race out of the way,” he added.

“It was just good to get out there, sit on the race plan, do the race plan and get the job done.

“I’m trying to work on my start at the moment. Sometimes I rip the start a bit too hard and then I pay for it later in the race.

“We’re not like the non-disabled crews who can get down the course in sub-six minutes. We do a nine, 10-minute race, so I need to learn a bit more about pacing.”

British Rowing is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the ongoing World Championships in Racice, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/