By Mike Rowbottom

Sarah Winckless Chair of Athletes CommissionDecember 6 - Sarah Winckless, Olympic bronze medallist and double world champion rower, has held off the challenge of four London 2012 competitors – including fellow Olympic rowing medallists Zac Purchase and Alex Partridge – to earn re-election as chair of the British Olympic Association's (BOA) Athletes' Commission.

Winckless, a graduate of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, who has rowed for Team GB at three Olympic Games at Sydney in 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 and also competed at six World Championships, will continue in her paid role until December 2014 before the next election.

Apart from Purchase – who has a gold and silver Olympic medal in the lightweight pairs from the last two Olympics – and Partridge – who has won three world titles in the coxless fours and Olympic silver and bronze in the eight – Winckless faced competition from Britain's hockey captain Kate Walsh, who led her team to bronze in London 2012 after recovering from a broken jaw in an earlier match, and Andy Baddeley, Olympic 1500 metres runner and former winner of the Oslo Dream Mile.

All five candidates delivered presentations to the Athletes' Commission and took part in question-and-answer sessions before the vote was taken.

Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase of Great BritainWinckless faced competition from London 2012 silver medallist Zac Purchase (right) 

Andy Hunt, the BOA chief executive said: "We congratulate Sarah on her re-election to chair of the British Olympic Association's Athletes' Commission.

"Sarah was picked by her fellow athletes and Olympians to ensure that the athletes' viewpoint and interests are at the heart of everything the BOA does.

"We are confident she will continue to make sure that athletes are at the pivotal centre of everything we do and we look forward to continuing the valued partnership.

"The excellent calibre of the five candidates who ran for chair reflects the importance of this role and the Commission itself and I would like to publicly thank them all for putting themselves forward.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those Commission Members who are standing down for the next term for the outstanding and passionate work they have done.

"It has been a true privilege to work with them all."

Winckless commented:  "I am delighted to continue the work with the British Olympic Association's Athletes' Commission.

"I have had a huge amount of support from the Commission members in the last two years and I believe we have made a real difference to Team GB's experience this summer at the London 2012 Olympics.

"There is plenty more work to do and I look forward to facing the challenges and working with the Commission in the future."

Ben Hawes of Great BritainHockey player Ben Hawes was among the five athletes confirmed to remain on the Committee

In order to establish a staggered membership and continuity, the BOA Athletes' Commission in November voted for six of its 12 members to stay on the Commission for a further two years, to complete a four year total term to December 2014.

The following athletes were confirmed to stay on the Committee: Ben Hawes from hockey, Goldie Sayers from athletics, Henry Nwume from bobsleigh, Jackie Lockhart from curling, Karen Pickering from swimming and Sarah Gosling from sailing.

The BOA Athletes' Commission is an advisory group set up to ensure that the athletes' viewpoint and interests are at the heart of everything the BOA does.

The Commission has 13 members and a chair, made up of a mixture of past and present athletes, men and women from summer, winter, team and individual sports.

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