5:00pm Monday 6th August 2012
ZAC Purchase maintains he will reassess his future in the sport after he and Mark Hunter lost their Olympic title in the men’s lightweight double sculls in the cruellest of circumstances.
Maybe fate had already conspired not to smile on the British duo as a mechanical fault to Purchase’s seat forced the race to be restarted.
Whatever distraction that had caused, it initially did not seem to affect the defending champions as they stormed out in front, enjoying a lead of over a second at the 500-metre and 1,500m marks.
But, bit by bit, the Danish pair of Mads Rasmssen and Rasmus Quist clawed their way back and took the lead with 50m remaining, leaving the British duo with no means to fight back.
A devastated Purchase could barely articulate the pain of being forced to stand second on the podium.
“I need to do a lot of soul searching now,” he said. “I will take some time away from the sport and decide if I want to continue.
“This hurts like hell, more than anything else I have ever experienced and maybe further down the line I will be proud of this but at the moment it does not feel like that.
“The emotional side is always difficult. When you put everything in and you lose, there is no hiding place.
“We’ll spend days, weeks, months, the rest of our lives, trying to work out if we could have done more.
“Our malfunctioning seat at the start was a bit of a shock, I'm not going to lie. It's not often you have an equipment failure in a major competition, though it's not unknown in training.”
That was the only thing that did not go to plan for the pair this year finishing sixth at two World Cup regattas.
But, as Olympic and world champions, the duo were confident they could produce when it counts.
Having breezed through their heats, semi-finals and 1,700m of the final, that seemed to be the case but silver was absolutely no consolation to Purchase.
“It has been a pretty emotional season for us,” he said. “We have had lots of ups and downs.
“Fair play to the guys who won , they had an awesome race. We crossed the finish line having done our very best.
“We got a silver medal but that still hurts when you have come here for gold.
“I'm just so disappointed for all the people who have helped and supported us along the way.”
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