Purchase can count himself among Worcester's greats

Worcester News: Zac Purchase Zac Purchase

WORCESTER has been associated with some fine sportsmen over the years and Zac Purchase is right up there with them.

The 27-year-old former King's School, Worcester, pupil yesterday announced his retirement from professional rowing, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career.

With Mark Hunter, he won a gold medal in the lightweight doubles in Beijing in 2008 and followed it up with silver at London 2012.

He also won gold at three World Championships and six World Cups in both the double and single scull, as well as several silver and bronzes to boot.

His London 2012 race was one of the many memorable moments from the Games. It was dramatic from the off, with a restart needed after Purchase's seat broke seconds after the claxon had sounded.

In the end, the pair were pipped to the gold medal by Denmark. The emotion was too much for an exhausted Purchase who broke down live on BBC television and also reduced interviewer John Inverdale to tears.

He felt he had let the nation down in pursuit of his dream of winning gold at his home games. But that couldn't have been further from the truth.

Although he didn't win, Purchase's efforts were the epitomy of hard work and determination to succeed at the highest level. That graft should be an example to the next generation of rowers, both at RGS and beyond.

After an 18-month break, he has decided not to compete in Rio and instead "explore other opportunities".

But he will be able to look back on a medal-laden career and nobody will be able to take that away from him.

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