Cox tells of Boat Race ‘hell’

De Toledo weeps af­ter her big hopes are dashed by the pro­tes­tor who jumped into the Thames

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport -

ZOE DE Toledo broke down in tears af­ter see­ing her chances of lead­ing Ox­ford to vic­tory at the Boat Race snatched away af­ter a bizarre turn of events.

What was sup­posed to be one of the proud­est days of her life turned into a nightmare as the drama un­folded.

With the team well-placed for vic­tory, De Toledo, 24, was forced to hastily nav­i­gate the Ox­ford boat away from Tren­ton Old­field, who had jumped into the Thames. The anti-elitism cam­paigner, who es­caped un­scathed, was later charged with a public or­der of­fence.

When the race was restarted, Ox­ford’s chances were dealt an­other blow when Hanno Wien­hausen suf­fered a bro­ken blade af­ter a col­li­sion with the Cam­bridge crew.

De Toledo, ap­pealed to the ref­eree John Gar­rett to start the race again, but they were turned down as Gar­rett felt that Ox­ford were to blame for the col­li­sion and had ig­nored his pre­vi­ous warn­ings.

Ox­ford trailed home four-and-aquar­ter lengths be­hind their ri­vals and De Toledo could only look on help­lessly as crew mem­ber Dr Alexan­der Woods, the bow in the Ox­ford boat, col­lapsed due to ex­haus­tion. He was later re­leased from hospi­tal.

“We are dev­as­tated that we did not get the chance to find out what we were ca­pa­ble of achiev­ing in the sec­ond half of the race and many of us will never have that op­por­tu­nity again,” said an in­con­solable De Toledo.

“Ul­ti­mately it is just a tragedy that nei­ther crew had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­play their best abil­ity over the full course from Put­ney to Mortlake.

“See­ing how the guys at­tacked the race in the last five min­utes was si­mul­ta­ne­ously one of the worst, but also one of the proud­est mo­ments of my life.”

The Hen­ley-based stu­dent be­lieves that she has learned a lot about her­self from the ex­pe­ri­ence 12 months af­ter lead­ing the Isis boat to vic­tory in the re­serve race.

“I truly learned what it was to be part of a team, a team which ral­lies around you when you are at your low­est.

“We are all ex­tremely proud of the race as an event and ac­cept bizarre events like these do hap­pen. That’s sport.”

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Zoe De Toledo ( right) is com­forted af­ter an event­ful Boat Race that saw Ox­ford come out sec­ond best

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