Erin Kennedy leads British para rowers to glory in Munich

The athletes from Great Britain during the flower ceremony for PR3 MIXED COXED FOUR FINAL A at the rowing competition at Munich Olympic Regatta Centre during the European Championships 2022.
·2 min read

By Will Jennings

Erin Kennedy and Britain’s para rowers delivered a remarkable display of fortitude to grab mixed coxed four gold at the multi-sport European Championships.

Plymouth cox Kennedy, 30, was diagnosed with breast cancer three months ago and had two rounds of chemotherapy before being named in the squad for Munich.

But she refused to let that stop her steering Britain to glory as she joined forces with Francesca Allen, Oliver Stanhope, Edward Fuller and Giedre Rakauskaite to help cap a memorable weekend for British Rowing at Munich’s 1972 Olympic Regatta Centre.

Britain’s para stars toppled France and Germany to soar to the summit of the podium as they clocked a speedy 7:06.73 and followed up Saturday’s stunning haul of seven – including four gold – medals.

Kennedy will now take a break from the sport and admits her emotions got the better of her as Britain boldly justified their tag as favourites.

She said: “It’s been really emotional today.

“It really means a lot - coming into this we knew we were the favourites.

“That’s always such a privilege but then actually to execute the way that we did was brilliant.

“We have had a really great week and it is a great build-up for the Worlds.

“I know, myself I am going to be taking some time away from the sport.

“I am going to have a little sabbatical over the next couple of weeks and months, just to basically try and get myself better before I rejoin next season.

“I know this crew will keep tracking on, they are unbelievable and I have just felt so proud to be a part of them - it’s been amazing.”

Kennedy helped Britain ease past France, Italy, Germany and Spain in Thursday’s heats as they went into the weekend’s final as the unequivocal team to beat.

And they held their nerve when the pressure was on to cross the line almost 20 seconds ahead of any of their rivals on Sunday.

Britain also claimed gold in the women’s lightweight double sculls and silver in the women’s eight to round off a memorable weekend with ten medals in total.

That catapulted them to the top of the rowing medal table and Kennedy added: “It’s unreal.

“It’s such a privilege to get the title and just keep the legacy going.”

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