NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) graduate rowing athlete Alexander Purnell is a world championship medallist and Olympic gold medallist.

Alex represented Australia at the 2013 World Rowing Junior Championships in Trakai, Lithuania before progressing into the U23 Australian squad. In 2015, Alex and the Men’s quadruple sculls crew finished on the podium with a bronze medal at the U23 world rowing championships.

In 2017 Alex was elevated to the senior squad and competed throughout the international season in the men’s eight boat. This culminated in a silver medal at the 2017 world rowing cup in Lucerne, Switzerland and a B Final placing at the 2017 world rowing championships.

The Sydney sider moved across to the men’s quadruple sculls boat in 2018 and secured a silver medal with his crew, including fellow NSWIS athlete Campbell Watts, at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Alex’s international success continued in 2019, winning a silver medal at the world rowing cup in Poland in the Men’s quadruple sculls. The NSWIS graduate athlete was then selected in the men’s eight crew for the 2019 World Rowing Championships where the crew secured a fourth place finish in the final to qualify their boat for the Tokyo Olympics.

A member of the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Alex made his Olympic debut and rowed in the bow seat of the Australian men’s coxless four to a gold medal victory. Combined with fellow NSWIS athletes Jack Hargreaves, Spencer Turrin and Australian teammate Alexander Hill, the coxless four team successfully broke Great Britain’s 20-year Olympic gold medal-winning streak and lead the Australian team from three consecutive silvers to their first victory since Atlanta 1996.

For their achievements at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Alex, Jack and Spencer were awarded the Powerade Male Athlete(s) of the Year Award at the 2021 NSWIS Awards.

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