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Outback athletes at Tokyo Olympics

The Men’s Four won gold at Tokyo 2020 with a time of 5:42.76, a victory 26 years in the making since the Oarsome Foursome won in Atlanta 1996. Congratulations Alex Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves of Nyngan, and Alex Hill. Photo provided by Rowing Australia

Far west New South Wales has more than its fair share of Olympians competing in Tokyo.

As well as Brewarrina’s Richie Campbell, who played a starring role in the Aussie Sharks water polo team, Walgett’s Jack O’Brien and Nyngan’s Jack Hargreaves have also become hometown heroes.

Jack Hargreaves from Nyngan is a gold medal winner after the men’s coxless fours rowing team won their final in Tokyo last week.

The 2021 “Oarsome Foursome” – made up of Jack Hargreaves of Nyngan plus Alex Purnell, Spencer Turrin and Alexander Hill – won the final in an Olympic record time of 5:42.76, ahead of Romania and Italy in a tight finish.

Jack Hargreaves told the cameras that “it was awesome to put Australia back on top again”.

Jack spent his primary school years at St Joseph’s School, Nyngan before relocating to the same boarding school as Jack O’Brien from Walgett, St Joseph’s in Hunters Hill.

He represented Australia in 2013 when he competed in the Sydney World Rowing Cup in the Men’s Eight and claimed a bronze medal, at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in the Men’s Eight, and in 2014 when he claimed a silver medal in the U23 Men’s Pair at the 2014 World Rowing U23 Championships in Varese, Italy.

He has now added an Olympic gold medal to his trophy cabinet and has now set his sights on next year’s world championships, and the Paris Olympics in three years’ time.

Jack told Noni Kuhner on 2WEB that he was honoured to be part of the next generation “Oarsome Foursome” and confided that the Tokyo Olympics had been a long journey from his schoolboy days in Nyngan.

“I didn’t do any rowing in Nyngan – it was when I went to boarding school in Sydney that I took it up to get fit for rugby,” Jack said.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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