By David Gold

Zack_Purchase_Mark_HunterSeptember 4 - Britain finished top of the medal table at the World Rowing Championships on Lake Bled, Slovenia, as Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter clinched gold on the final day of the event, taking the team's haul to seven gold, three silver and four bronze.

It was Britain's best ever haul at a World Championship, with New Zealand coming second in the medal haul.

The lightweight double's first race together since May saw them come home ahead of New Zealand in a thrilling finish, holding off a tough challenge from the Kiwis Storm Uru and Peter Taylor, who had led at halfway, with a strong finish.

Hunter said: "We knew we had to be in touch with the Kiwis.

"We said we should stick in our boat for the first kilometre and then we'd move on and start racing from there."

There was also gold for the quartet of Tom James, Richard Egington, Alex Gregory and Matthew Langridge in the four, who beat Greece and Australia.

It means the team are unbeaten since May, and Gregory said: "That was our biggest win of the year.

"I'm so happy that we've managed to keep our unbeaten record this season and improve on the unfortunate issues last year."

Today also saw Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell take bronze in the women's lightweight double, rounding off a superb year after they won the World Cup series earlier in the year.

They finished behind Greece's Christina Giazitzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou (pictured) and Canada's Patricia Obee and Lindsay Jennerich.

"World Championships medals are a very special thing and, okay, we have the lowest colour but we have something to take away in our bags," said Goodsell.

By the end of the regatta, a total of 129 boats from 33 countries had qualified for London in Bled with Britain securing the highest number of boats succeeding in 13 out of the 14 Olympic events.

The only boat that Britain missed out on was the women's single sculls, which was won today by Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic.

The successfully qualified boats mean that the country, rather than the athletes, earn a spot in the Olympic Games.

Individual countries then have the opportunity to pick the most appropriate athletes for the qualified boats in the year up to next year's Olympic Games.

There are further opportunities for Olympic qualification.

The continental qualification regattas will allow opportunities for Asian, African and Latin American nations to earn spots.

There is also a final Olympic Qualification Regatta, open to all countries, in Lucerne next May.

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