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Zac Purchase and Mel Clarke share London experiences at Worcester awards
11:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
ZAC Purchase and Mel Clarke say they are proud to keep the Olympic flame alive by sharing their London 2012 experiences with the stars of tomorrow.
Rower Purchase, who followed up his Beijing gold medal with silver in the lightweight men’s double sculls, and Paralympic archer Clarke, a silver medallist this summer, were the special guests at the City of Worcester Sports Awards.
The pair presented 16 honours at the 12th awards evening to individuals and teams at the Graeme Hick Pavilion in New Road on Thursday night.
Javelin thrower Jason Copsey, a Commonwealth Games hopeful for 2014, was named male sports personality of the year after winning the East Wales Regional Championships.
Chelsea Weston claimed the female award after helping Women’s Super League side Birmingham City Ladies to their FA Cup triumph in May, beating Chelsea 3-2 on penalties.
Purchase said: “It’s important that we maintain the excitement of the Olympics and make sure that future generations feel the same sort of buzz and be inspired by it.
“The important message to understand is that unless you give it a go you never know – you might be an Olympic champion in that sport.
“If I hadn’t tried rowing I don’t know what I’d be doing now. If I hadn’t tried it I wouldn’t have been an Olympian so I’m very glad rowing gave me the opportunity to do that.
“I could turn round and say no to all these sort of things but I think it’s really important we try to keep that Olympic flame going and we try to get out there and spread the message.”
Clarke, who also won individual compound bronze in Beijing in 2008, said: “I think they’re really important because this recognises sport at grassroots level.
“You’ve got young people who are new and upcoming in sport so it’s great to acknowledge them and for me to share some of my experience and hopefully inspire them.”
Boxer Trent Smith scooped the junior male personality award following a year that has seen him crowned West Midlands champion for the third time.
Charlotte Collins won the junior female prize for her efforts with Saracens Netball Club, which has led to a call-up to the England Under 19s.
The coach of the year award went to Worcester Canoe Club chairman Stuart West, who will compete for Great Britain at this weekend’s marathon world championships in Rome alongside protégé Jonny Tye.
WCT Raiders Under 12s won the junior team prize after becoming the first side from the club to reach a cup final last season, following their league triumph in the previous campaign.
Other awards: Volunteer of the year – Joshua Hanley; Young Volunteer – Nathan Hobday; Disability Sports Person – Chloe Parker; Club – Rhythmic Gymnastics Club Worcester; Best School Sporting Achievement – Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College; Community Sport Award – Worcester Allstars Disability FC; School Sport Partnership Award for Most Improved School – Our Lady Queen Of Peace Catholic School; Contribution to Physical Activity – Matthew Peacock; Contribution to Higher Education and Further Education Sport – Sammy Engele; Howard Peters Award for Outstanding Contribution – Advance Leisure.