Sunday 7th April 2019

Event of the Day: The Boat Race

Our event of the day is The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge on the River Thames. The annual rowing competition has been contested since 1856, with Cambridge entering as the defending champions in both the men’s and women’s race. Be sure you don’t miss this exciting annual event. The flash of blue oars cutting through the dark waters of the Thames holds a strange allure. Cambridge and Oxford have been rivals since 1208, when Cambridge was founded by scholars seeking refuge from hostility in Oxford. In 1829, Cambridge student Charles Merivale and his friend, Oxford student Charles Wordsworth organised a race on the Thames between the two universities. Cambridge offered the challenge to Oxford before losing by a wide margin. The race became an annual staple in 1856 and, with the exception of the wartime years, has been raced come rain or shine. The women’s race has been held annually since 1964. The course runs 4.2 miles from Putney Bridge to University Stone, downstream of Chiswick Bridge. The course passes notable landmarks such as Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham FC, and the Chiswick Eyot. It also passes under the iconic Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Railway Bridge. The men’s title has passed back-and-forth between the schools since 2015, with Cambridge coming into today’s race as the defending champions. Cambridge are the two-time defending champions in the women’s race, having won in 2017 and 2018 by impressive margins. The talent that will board the boats in Putney this year is some of the best in recent memory. James Cracknell will become the oldest competitor in the history of the race at 46 years old.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist will sit at second seat for Cambridge. He is surrounded by a strong team of veteran rowers. Boat Club president Dara Alizadeh rowed on the varsity 8s team at the University of Pennsylvania. Grant Bitler was part of Brown’s second varsity team as an undergrad. However, they face a young, energetic team from Oxford. Headed by Felix Drinkall, the youngest Boat Club President since 2015, the team includes Ben Landis, the two-time German national champion, and Achim Harzheim, who rowed as part of Harvard’s undefeated season in 2016. The president of Cambridge’s women’s rowing club is Abigail Parker, the former captain of the Harvard varsity team and the daughter of an Olympic gold medallist. While she will not race today, she has selected a team that could feasibly retain the title for a third year. However, they will face a strong challenge from a younger, smaller, lighter Oxford crew. Despite the rain forecast for today, this is not an event you will want to miss.

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the FA Cup, where Watford face Wolves at Wembley Stadium in their semi-final. This is the eighth FA Cup fixture between the two teams, with Watford winning only one of the last seven fixtures. However, they have won four of their last five fixtures against Wolves in all competitions. Watford last progressed to the final in 1984, while Wolves last made the final in 1960, winning 3-0 against Blackburn. A momentous day for both teams, expect a hard-fought and exciting match. Elsewhere, the Rome Marathon takes place today. In the MLB, the Milwaukee Brewers look to continue their hot start to the season as they conclude their series against the struggling Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. In the IndyCar Series, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama takes place at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. On the PGA Tour, the Valero Texas Open continues at TPC San Antonio. In the NRL, the Melbourne Storm host the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at AAMI Park in Melbourne. In snooker, the China Open concludes at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium in Beijing.

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!


Photos by The Boat Race; Oxford University


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