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Restarts ban after Olympic controversy

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 27, 2013

  • OAR-SOME: Alex Gregory (right) and Pete Reed pictured after crossing the line to claim Olympic gold at London2012

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THE law that allowed Gloucestershire rower Zac Purchase an Olympic restart has been scrapped.

Purchase and lightweight double sculls partner Mark Hunter claimed silver medals at London 2012, but very nearly didn't make it to the finishing line at all.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic champions sped away from the line in the Olympic final, before equipment problems hit.

Coming to a halt within millimetres of the 100m marker at Eton Dorney, Purchase and Hunter threw their arms in the air in protest as Purchase's seat appeared to jam in the runners.

The duo then led for the majority of the race, before being overhauled by the Danish crew at the finish line, leaving Bushley boy Purchase and Hunter distraught.

The international rowing federation, FISA, made the decision to scrap the rule at their Extraordinary Congress, held in Copenhagen, Denmark recently.

The decision to eliminate the rule came directly after the controversy which followed that Olympic final.

France, who finished fourth and therefore missed out on an Olympic formally protested after the race about the restart.

The protest was rejected but was a sour ending to an otherwise successful Olympic regatta.

FISA stated that many delegates believe that "the standard of equipment used now is high enough for problems to be unlikely, compared to the wooden boats and metal riggers used when the rule was first introduced."

Purchase is currently taking a year out of rowing while he considers whether to compete up until the Rio 2016 Olympics.

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