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Wales’ World Champion Matt Richards Mines More Gold As He Builds Towards Paris Olympics

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By Hannah Blackwell

Matt Richards has vowed to build more momentum as he heads towards next year’s Olympic Games after winning another gold medal at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Romania.

The Team Wales Commonwealth Games star and world champion powered home to win the 200m freestyle title, ahead of his Great Britain teammate James Guy.

It capped a sensational few months for Richards who seized gold in the same event at the World Championships in July and won relay gold on the opening day of the short course championships.

Nest year, he will be among the favourites for gold at the Paris Olympics in both his individual and relays events.

Richards said: “I’m over the moon with that. It’s a great result to try to build that momentum on from Worlds into short course.

“I’m definitely better long course so this is all a challenge and a learning experience to refine some of my skills, but I’m over the moon to come out on top.

“I am so, so pleased to see Jim on the podium as well.

“In sport, one minute you can be on top of the world and the next you can be nowhere so it’s one of those where I’m trying to enjoy the journey and every day as it comes.

“I’ve a fantastic team around me which makes it so much more fun and enjoyable and hopefully we can keep building on this momentum now going into Paris and there’s so much more that I want to do and want to achieve.”

Guy said: “I’ve not had an individual final and to get an individual podium is amazing.

“I’ve waited for a long time for it to happen. The last time I did a 200m free and got a medal was 2016, so seven years is a long time, so never give in!

“Things happen in life but don’t give up. I’m 28 and still PB’ing and I’m happy with what I’m doing so bring on next year.”

Richards’ fellow Welsh star Medi Harris has also had a championship to cherish after winning two medals.

Already a winner of the 200m backstroke, Harris took silver in the 100m backstroke.

Great Britain secured top spot in the medal table standings. They collected more gold medals (9) than any other nation, and tied for the most total medals (23) with France.

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