Ox­ford claim clean sweep in land­mark Boat Races

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Ox­ford’s men and women recorded hand­some vic­to­ries over eter­nal ri­vals Cam­bridge in a land­mark mo­ment for the Boat Races on Lon­don’s River Thames on Satur­day.

For the first time in the event’s 88-year his­tory, the fe­male eights from the pres­ti­gious Bri­tish uni­ver­si­ties raced on the same stretch of the river and on the same day as the male crews.

Ox­ford’s fe­male “Dark Blues” came in six- and- a- half lengths clear of Cam­bridge to claim a 12th victory in 16 years, with their male coun­ter­parts pre­vail­ing by the same mar­gin an hour later.

“It’s an amaz­ing mo­ment. To pull some­thing off like that is amaz­ing,” Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity Women’s Boat Club Pres­i­dent Anas­ta­sia Chitty told the BBC.

“To row on the same stage as the men, there were so many women be­fore us who have never had this op­por­tu­nity and it’s ex­tremely hum­bling. We started mov­ing away early on and kept our­selves ahead.”

Ox­ford’s men have now won four of their last five en­coun­ters with “Light Blues” Cam­bridge af­ter their one-sided suc­cess in the 161st men’s Boat Race.

It was their 79th over­all victory, tak­ing them to within just two race wins of Cam­bridge’s tally of 81 (there was also one dead heat in 1877).

Out­go­ing Ox­ford Pres­i­dent Con­stan­tine Louloudis, who claimed a fourth victory in the race, said: “I felt much more pres­sure this year, es­pe­cially as I was leav­ing the guys.

“There were some pretty dark mo­ments go­ing in, but I’m so pleased for the guys. We just stuck to our plan and ex­e­cuted a re­ally good race.”

Both races took place over a 6.8-kilo­me­ter length of river be­tween Put­ney and Mort­lake in west Lon­don, with the women hav­ing pre­vi­ously com­peted over 2 kilo­me­ters at Hen­ley, some 100 kilo­me­ters up­river.

In the first women’s race, in 1927, the crews took to the river separately and were judged on “steadi­ness, fin­ish, rhythm and other mat­ters of style,” ac­cord­ing to a con­tem­po­rary re­port by The Times.

It was not un­til 1935 that the two boats were al­lowed to ac­tu­ally race and there were sev­eral more false starts be­fore the event fi­nally be­came a per­ma­nent fix­ture.

In an­other first, the women’s race on Satur­day was broad­cast live on BBC tele­vi­sion, while a crowd of around 250,000 turned out to wit­ness a break­through mo­ment in the his­tory of women’s sport.

AFP

The Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity boat crew cel­e­brates af­ter beat­ing Cam­bridge in the boat race be­tween Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity and Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity, in Lon­don on Satur­day, April 11.

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