Hunter back in World Cup action

Romford rower returns to GB duty

World and Olympic Champion rower Mark Hunter is back in action for Great Britain this weekend at the World Cup finals in Switzerland.

But Romford’s Hunter will be without partner Zac Purchase, who is recovering from a post-viral episode.

Purchase won Olympic gold with Hunter in Beijing and at the Worlds in New Zealand last Autumn, but his absence gives 26-year-old Adam Freeman-Pask a shot in his seat in Lucerne.

Hunter, 32, said: “This season is all about Olympic qualification so the more we can learn as a squad, the stronger and better prepared we will be for any obstacle’s which get in our way.

“Myself and Adam have only been together for a short time but we are excited and looking forward to the big challenge this weekend presents.”

Freeman-Pask added: “With Zac still recovering, this is a fantastic opportunity. Although me and Mark have only recently stepped into the double we are ready to take on what the World Cup in Lucerne has to throw at us.”

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The GB rowing team, sponsored by Siemens and Lottery funded, won five golds at the first World Cup of the season in Munich, but pulled out of the second in Hamburg after the E.Coli outbreak.

They go into the Lucerne finale on the front foot, though, after winning five trophies out of seven at Henley.

The two crews who missed out on silverware in the head-to-head racing on the Thames, the men’s and women’s eight, both reached the final and pushed the current world champions to breaking the course record.

The men’s pair, four, double scull, quadruple scull and single sculler Alan Campbell all won their events in impressive style.

For Lucerne, former world junior and under-23 medallists and 2011 Boat Race opponents Constantine Louloudis and George Nash have earned a call-up to race in the pairs with Beijing gold medallists Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge, who renew their rivalry with the world champion Kiwi pair for the first time in 2011.

World Champion Anna Watkins, unbeaten in 2010, returns from a niggling back injury to partner five-times world champion Katherine Grainger in the women’s double scull. While it was decided Campbell should be withdrawn from the event after reporting a sore throat and feeling under par following his victory at Henley.

The GB rowing team will announce its squad for the World Championships on July 19.

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