A niggling knee injury denied Ben Adcock his dream of a top-10 finish at the European Indoor Rowing Championships.
Great Britain’s sole representative at the Paris event, Adcock had set himself the goal of mixing it with the very best on his championship debut.
But a knee injury which plagued his preparations for the competition reared its ugly head again, confining the Emsworth athlete to 12th place in the 30-39 age category for rowers under 75kg.
His creditable time of six minutes 57.4 seconds in the 2,000m race was just 36 seconds slower than category winner and 2009 world indoor champion Augusto Zamboni from Italy – and an agonising 1.4 seconds away from a top-10 conclusion.
That left the City of Portsmouth Athletic’s club ace bitterly disappointed.
But he remained upbeat after bravely fighting through the pain barrier to complete the Stade Pierre de Coubertin test.
‘I just missed out on my aim of a top-10 finish, said Adcock.
‘I was very disappointed with the time – my second worst-ever in competition – as I was on course to achieve a time of around 6:50 at the halfway stage.
‘But my knee pain got progressively worse from then on.
‘I battled away in spite of the injury but my pace slipped a little in the second half of the race.
‘To make matters worse, I missed out on a top-10 placing by just 1.4 seconds, which was really frustrating. I collapsed off the machine at the end and my knee was intensely painful and so tight that I could barely walk from the arena.
‘The knee injury has meant shorter training sessions on the rowing machine over the past few weeks and I haven’t been able to prepare anywhere near as well as I should have done.
‘But when I’m back to full fitness and able to up the training, I should be comfortably below 6.50, which would have put me close to a medal in Paris.
‘Having said all of that, I’m proud of what I achieved and know I’m in decent shape despite the knee problems.
‘I suppose I’ve got to be happy to come 12th in Europe when fighting an injury.’
Adcock admitted he was close to pulling out of the event before he had even departed for the French capital – only for a couple of friends to help change his mind.
‘I’m proud that I took the decision to race at all,’ he said.
‘On Wednesday I was very close to pulling out of the event – a couple of friends from the gym I run talked some sense into me so I’m glad I went and completed the race.
‘The event itself was excellent and very well organised, while the Stade Pierre de Coubertin is a superb sports arena and the atmosphere was fantastic throughout the day.’
Despite his knee injury, Adcock will persevere and compete at tomorrow’s English Championships in Manchester.
‘I’m competing again tomorrow and will give it my best, especially as there is a realistic medal chance there.
‘After that, it will be a period of rest while I get my knee problems sorted out so that I can get back in training for the 2011-12 indoor rowing season, which starts in the autumn.
‘If things go well, I may be off to Boston for the World Indoor Championships in February 2012 – the ultimate challenge.’