Inspiring Purchase

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Rowing is a sport that the English have long excelled in. Just look at the Oxford / Cambridge Boat Race that has been an event for almost every year since 1829.

The Boat Race which has a worldwide viewing happens every year on the Thames but many don’t realise that in 1944 it took place on the River Great Ouse from Ely to Littleport and for many years before and since athletes for Cambridge University and Team GB have trained on this stretch of natural beauty.

Whether athletes row for pleasure or sport, Ely has a long history and heritage in the activity.

The Isle of Ely Rowing Club was established in 2004 to make the sport available to everyone who wanted to take part. The club prides itself on making it affordable for anyone to take part. Whether you want to get fit or explore a deeper understanding of the sport, the rowing club is happy to help anyone and everyone from all walks of like, age or gender.

Along with Living Sport and Activate, Zac Purchase MBE not only a 3 times World Champion but also Gold medallist in Beijing and Silver medallist in London visited the Isle of Ely Rowing Club on Monday night.

Purchase was born in Cheltenham and started rowing in 1999 whilst at Kings School in Worcester. He appeared on the international stage for 10 years and has been lucky enough to work with some of the world leading sports specialists, physiologists, sports psychologists and strength & conditioning specialists.

Sporting Champion Zac is now representing Sport England and although retired from the worldwide sporting arena, with help from Sport England and Sportivate, he aims teach, inspire and motivate new and experienced rowers of all ages. Just his mere presence and the sight of his medals left a lasting impression as several craft then headed to the water.

Beginners took to the learning craft, with lead instructor Duncan McCullogh and in record time were set free to row under supervision up and down the stretch of water adjacent to the rowing club.

The youth teams and individuals also displayed their talents in front of Purchase who then offered yet more advice and wisdom.

Zac is due to return to the club in 5 weeks to see not only how the beginners have progressed over their course but to ensure that the youth team are working towards their goals has first class rowing athletes.