2 September 2019
Pritchard revels in first taste of Rowing World Championships
Having ensured all three British boats qualified for the 2020 Paralympics, Benjamin Pritchard acquitted himself with aplomb in his maiden World Rowing Championships final.
The PR1 single sculler took a thumping 20 seconds off his personal best, finishing fourth in the global final in Linz Ottensheim, Austria.
Pritchard, 27, couldn’t catch Paralympic champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine, who set a world best time, but was less than a second off the podium on championship debut.
We have a lot of momentum to build on going into next season
“It’s incredible – I just feel elated,” said the Welshman.
“To get to a Paralympic or Olympic Games is every kid’s dream. Three years ago I had an accident and now I’ve qualified [a place for Great Britain]. It beggars belief.
“When I first started rowing, I said that a gold at Paris 2024 is my ultimate aim. Tokyo is coming early, if I manage to get there that’ll be a stepping stone towards that gold in Paris.”
Pritchard won his semi-final and thus qualified the men’s single, an event in which Tom Aggar bagged bronze in Rio.
Pritchard only took up rowing in 2016
The World Championships were a rousing success for the para squad, with both the mixed coxed four and mixed double sculls winning gold.
Director of performance Brendan Purcell said: “Having two World Champion crews and all three boats qualified for the Paralympic Games is an outstanding achievement and credit should go to Tom Dyson and his team.
“A huge thank you to all the coaches and support team for the dedication and time they invest to enable the athletes to reach the start line, ready to compete for medals and qualification.
“We now need to go away and prioritise our boats, focus on converting the opportunities into medals and look to seek additional qualifications.
“We have a lot of momentum to build on going into next season.”
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