Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rowing's in the Best of Health as Oxford Suffer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rowing's in the Best of Health as Oxford Suffer

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Majendie Sports Correspondent

IT IS three-an-half months to go until an anticipated 300,000 peo- ple line the banks of the Thames for the Boat Race and yesterday Cambridge University nudged ahead with a marginal advantage.

A winter illness has ripped through Oxford's camp leaving the boat club with insufficient pickings to take part in yesterday's trials on the same course that the two universities will once again do battle on April 6. It is 37 years since former British Olympic Association chairman Lord Moynihan, then a student at Oxford studying philosophy, politics and eco- nomics, took part in those trials. In so doing, he cemented his place as cox the for his university in the annual event, which they went on to win by a massive margin of seven lengths.

Such is the team aspect of the race, he is permanently linked with the other eight in that crew and also to the event itself, which he says is still hugely rele- vant on the British sporting calendar. "Still hundreds of thousands of peo- ple watch from the bank of the Thames," he said. "In fact, people still slip into bars and restaurants around the world to watch it."

Moynihan has watched it everywhere from the prime cox's position to the banks of the river -- and from Norway to Colorado.

The fact 8.9 million people tuned into the event last year shows its appeal with the public and Moynihan believes this is because of "the history and the association of the two universities" as well as the two crews being "probably the fastest in the world on the water at this time of year".

He added: "The Olympic eights are on the water in early training whereas these crews are properly ready to race. It appeals because the quality of the rowing is right up there."

It would appear rowing in Britain at the end of 2013 is in a good place. Fig- ures published earlier this month by Sport England showed rowing was one of the few Olympic disciplines to find participation numbers on the rise since last year's Games.

"It's great that interest in rowing has gone up, that membership of clubs has exceeded expectations," said Moyni- han. …

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