ROWING: Purchase 'one of Britain's greatest' calls it a day

Zac Purchase (left) and Mark Hunter show off their silver medals at the London Olympics

Zac Purchase (left) and Mark Hunter show off their silver medals at the London Olympics

First published in Sport

Wallingford resident Zac Purchase has decided to call an end to his international rowing career, writes Mike Rosewell.

Lightweight performer Purchase, 27, won a gold in the Beijing Olympics and a silver in London, both in a double scull with Mark Hunter.

He said: “I have been part of the British rowing team for nearly a decade and during that time have shared a tremendously successful period with some of the world’s finest athletes.”

Explaining his decision to stop rowing: he said: “Since London, I have spent time reflecting on results and I felt it was the right time to step away from rowing to explore other opportunities “Rowing has played a significant part in my life, and was how I met my wife.

“I am indebted to everyone who has supported my career and wish the British team well in their build up to the Rio Olympics and be-yond.”

“Winning the gold medal with Mark at the Beijing Games in 2008 is as memorable now as it was those six years ago.

“To then have the chance to compete on home water in London in 2012 and to win silver in front of a rapturous home crowd was an honour and something I will never forget.”

Purchase had something of a meteoric rise to fame at a young age.

As a 19-year-old in 2005 and racing in a single, he won the World Under 23 Championships and took silver in the World Senior Cham-pionships.

Gold and bronze followed in the next two years before he moved to a double with Hunter and the rest is history, including an MBE award in 2009.

Sir David Tanner, the GB performance director, said: “Zac burst onto the scene with some outstanding performances as a young, lightweight rower and carried those through into a top-flight Olympic career.

“We wish him well whilst he considers his next steps.”

Paul Thompson, Purchase’s lightweight coach, considers him “one of GB’s greatest lightweight rowers of all time.”

Meanwhile, the floods have bro-ught activity to a virtual stop.

Ergometers and land training rule the scene, although the Oxford University squad have maintained their preparation for the 160th Boat Race on April 6 by centering their activity on the still-water course at Caversham.

They have just over 2000 metres to use and Oxford’s coach, Sean Bowden, said. “We are a little bit behind, but as long as the rain and wind stop we should be OK”.

Who would doubt it? He invariably gets things right.

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