Benjamin Pritchard set a new Paralympic best time as he won his PR1 men’s singles sculls repechage to advance to tomorrow’s finals day, one of three British boats to be competing for medals on Sunday.

Pritchard was pushed hard by Spain’s Javier Reja Munoz for the first 1000m before the Swansea rower pulled away to win the second heat in a time of 9:14.61, just two seconds off the world best.

The 29-year-old was in contention from the get-go, getting the fastest start of all the competitors and he dealt with the tricky conditions well as his nearest rivals were sent to the right by the strong crosswind.

Reja Munoz fought back to lead by half a length with 500m gone with Pritchard over three seconds ahead of the Russian Paralympic Committee’s Aleksey Chuvashev in third.


Hopefully, I have saved some beans for tomorrow

Benjamin Pritchard

The next 500m saw Pritchard overturn Reja Munoz’s advantage to take a slender lead of 0.45 into the second half of the race and from there it was all about the Brit.

He came home in a time 9:14:61, to set a new Paralympic best, breaking Australian Erik Horrie’s time set in the previous repechage heat by six seconds and finishing 19 seconds ahead of fellow qualifier Reja Munoz in second.

He will now go into the final on Sunday knowing he can challenge Ukrainian Roman Polianskyi who currently holds the world best time.

Pritchard said: “A lot harder than I expected. The Spanish guy came out and really sent it to me and the first thing is hats off to him. 

Pritchard and his competitors have had to deal with strong crosswinds at the Sea Forest Waterway

“He pushed me hard the whole way. I was hoping for a little bit of an easier ride than that, but we trained well, and hopefully, I have saved some beans for tomorrow as well.

“Yesterday, I felt I didn’t row to my best standard, I lost a couple of blades and caught a couple of crabs and still managed to come second but just didn’t row particularly well. 

“So today, it was all about trying to loosen off and the nerves have come out of the system now so I could get back to rowing how I like to row, which is loosen the shoulders, hook up early and flow through the turn.”

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