Cambridge win University Boat Race as Oxford rower collapses

Cambridge won the Varsity Boat Race on Sunday but their victory was overshadowed by the collapse of an Oxford University rower. There were worrying signs at the finish on London’s River Thames, with Oxford stroke Felix Drinkall slumped in the Dark Blues’ boat following a race that took place in rough water where the choppy conditions made life tough for both crews. Drinkall was subsequently carried off on a stretcher and into an ambulance that took him to hospital.

In the 168th edition of the race, which involves crews from England’s two oldest universities, Cambridge held off a late charge from Oxford to win by just over a length as they posted their fourth victory in five editions. Both boats were warned about being too close together early on by race umpire Tony Reynolds as Oxford, the heavier of the two crews, pulled ahead.

An unusually bold move by Cambridge cox Jasper Parish paid dividends when, quickly assessing the tricky conditions, he steered a crew that included brother Ollie to the Fulham bank in the hope of finding calmer waters.

Parish’s move proved the difference as Cambridge maintained a slender lead on the 4.25 miles (6.83 kilometres) course from Putney to Mortlake. Cambridge now lead Oxford 86-81, with one dead heat, in a race first staged in 1829. The Light Blues win meant Cambridge enjoyed a double success after their women’s crew triumphed on the Thames earlier Sunday to record their sixth successive boat race win.

Both women’s boats broke records last year, with Cambridge winning by two-and-a-quarter lengths. But Sunday’s conditions meant those records remained intact, with Cambridge president Caoimhe Dempsey the only returning rower and no Olympians in either of the 2023 crews.

By halfway Cambridge were in command and they pulled away for a decisive victory in the 77th edition of the women’s event.

Source: eNCA

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