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Nicholas ‘Nick’ Purnell was awarded a Scholarship within the 2011 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program and was paired with athlete Member Peter Antonie OAM as his Mentor.

Hailing from St Leonard NSW, Nicholas was born on June 4, 1990 and attended the Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore School). In tandem with younger brother Alex, Nick pursued rowing from a relatively young age initially through school and naturally progressing to the Sydney University Boat Club. Under direction from coaches Ian Wright, Mark Prater and Andrew Russell, Nick’s talents were soon recognised; propelling him into a position to accept a scholarship from Rowing Australia High Performance, a place at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and a position at the AIS where he was coached by SAHOF Member Noel Donaldson from 2011.

Following years of strenuous training Nick made his first national team in 2009 with an impressive international debut at the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand; where he won a bronze medal as part of the Men’s 8 Team as a 20 year old. This laid the foundation for an outstanding 10+ year career where he produced over 11 international competition appearances, in which a medal was achieved in each.

Nick did take an extended leave from the sport before returning upon selection to the Reinhold Batschi National Training Centre in 2017. Preparing alongside Alex, a newly formed motivation emerged spurring him to continue following his sporting passion. Nick went on to win another four medals post extended leave at various international competitions.

In 2021, Nick competed in his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 placing 6th in the Men’s eights.

Awards, Honours & Achievements

  • 2010: World Rowing Cup 2 – gold medal, M4
  • 2010: World Rowing Cup 3 – silver medal, M8+
  • 2010: World Rowing U23 Championships – bronze medal, BM4-
  • 2010: World Rowing Championships – bronze medal, M8+
  • 2011: World Rowing Championships – bronze medal, M4-
  • 2012: World Rowing Cup 3 – silver medal, M8+
  • 2013: World Rowing Cup 1 – bronze medal, M4X
  • 2018: World Rowing Cup 3 – silver medal, M8+
  • 2018: World Rowing Championships – silver medal, M8+
  • 2019: World Rowing Cup 2 – gold medal, M4-
  • 2019: World rowing Cup 3 – gold medal, M4-
  • 2020 (2021): Tokyo Olympic Games – M8, 6th



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