Benjamin Pritchard: Para-rower goes full-time for Paralympics

Benjamin Pritchard rowing in Poznan, Poland
Benjamin Pritchard won bronze in his debut World Cup race in Poznan

Para-rower Benjamin Pritchard has put his career as an insurance broker on hold to become a full time rower.

The 27-year-old says his ambition to go to the 2020 Paralympics was behind the decision to commit to British Rowing.

Trials for selection begin in November until April when British Rowing decide who will be on the plane to Japan.

"If I didn't get selected and I was juggling a full time job rather finishing training would I kick myself? The answer is yes," said Pritchard.

"I took the decision to remove that excuse.

"The next seven months are down to me, if in April I don't get selected then it's down to me.

"It's crunch time for the Paralympics now."

The Welshman finished a frustrating fourth place at the World Championships in Austria, but the result ensured Great Britain will compete in the PR1 men's single sculls at the Tokyo Paralympics.

"I made the decision to go full time after the worlds," said Pritchard.

"I sat down with my family and looked at it and said this year is going to be a big year and big selections ahead for the Paralympics.

"Fourth place is the worst place to finish in a regatta, just a second to third place, so I was really disappointed with that result because I was so close to a medal.

"I spent a couple of weeks really searching about what I wanted to do and what could I do to make that difference."

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British Rowing is based at state of the art facilities at the Redgrave Pinsent rowing lake in Berkshire.

Pritchard will now be based in Caversham for most of the week and says it is the small margins that could make all the difference next summer.

"Everything at Caversham is bred for success and I'm really excited to be part of that," said Pritchard.

Coach Tom Dyson says the full-time environment Pritchard will be training in is an exciting prospect.

"It's great to have Benjamin training with the squad at Caversham full-time," Dyson said.

"I know we are all looking forward to seeing how much we can accelerate his development with the extra contact time."

Some of the British Rowing team were recently invited to go to Japan to see the facilities and where they could be competing if selected for Tokyo 2020.

Pritchard admits the trip hit home how close he is to achieving his dream of representing Great Britain at an Olympic games.

"It made me really want it and believe in myself," Pritchard said.

"I did enough at the World Championships to be invited to the camp [in Japan], so why shouldn't it be me to go back next year?"

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