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Zac wins Olympic gold
FORMER Worcester schoolboy Zac Purchase wept tears of joy as he listened to the British national anthem with his Olympic gold medal hanging around his neck.
The 22-year-old rowed across the finish line with doubles partner Mark Hunter in the lightweight men’s double skulls. Purchase, a former pupil at the King’s School, Worcester, who rowed at Upton-upon-Severn and Evesham rowing clubs, was cheered on by his family in Beijing.
Among the proud onlookers was his grandmother Mary, who was clutching a lucky bag made for her by a neighbour.
After the race, Hunter collapsed with exhaustion and had to be held up by Purchase for television interviews. Gasping for breath, it was CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 clear the pair had given their all for the win.
But Purchase said it had been worth it.
“We set out back in October and said we wanted to come here and win this,” he said. “It was six minutes of hell but a fantastic result. It is unbelievable.”
Dad Nick Purchase, said he was overjoyed at their success, but admitted he had been nervous on the banks of the Olympic rowing lake.
"I kept a lid on it for the first 1,500 metres but then I started to lose it,” he told reporters.
"It was absolutely fantastic.
"The Team GB supporters are the best in the world - you can always hear us."
And the Olympic hero’s sister Freya said she was overwhelmed by emotion after watching her brother cross the finishing line.
"It was amazing,” she said. “I couldn't stop crying, still can't, which is ridiculous. We're so proud."
After the race, former King’s School rowing coach, Nick Maloney, told your Worcester News he had been confident of his former student’s success.
“There was no doubt in my mind,” he said.
“From about the forth or fifth stroke I was pretty sure he was going to win, they just looked really smooth.
“I am just really pleased for him. I know all the guys who he rowed with at school were watching and will be jumping up and down.
“He will certainly go on to be one of the best lightweight rowers there is.”
And the school’s headmaster Tim Keyes said: “I was so proud of him, it was a magnificent race.
“The fact they led from start to finish was a huge achievement and I think everybody at the school will share my feelings of pride.”
Mr Keyes added he would now be talking to the school’s head of rowing about the possibility of naming a boat after Purchase.