Mark Hunter named rowing's Olympic athlete of 2011

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter

World and Olympic champion Mark Hunter has been named rowing's Olympic athlete of the year for 2011.

The Londoner, 33, took a dramatic gold with lightweight double scull partner Zac Purchase at last year's World Championships in Slovenia.

Hunter and Purchase hope to defend the Olympic title they won four years ago in London this summer, with their next test the GB trials on 10-11 March.

"I'm honoured as there are so many top athletes on the team," said Hunter.

David Tanner, GB rowing team performance director, added: "Mark is a double Olympian and a shining example of the integrity, dedication and teamwork which underpins the best of the sport of rowing.

"He is at the top of his game, having won Gold in Beijing and has been twice World Champion in this Olympiad in the lightweight men's double."

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