Rowing: Oxford see off Cambridge to regain Boat Race crown

Oxford team celebrates after beating Cambridge in the 163rd University boat race n London on April 2, 2017.
Oxford team celebrates after beating Cambridge in the 163rd University boat race n London on April 2, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (AFP) - Oxford won the men's Boat Race for the fourth time in five years as they defeated Cambridge to regain the title on London's River Thames on Sunday.

Having lost last year, Oxford were determined to reestablish their recent dominance in the 163rd edition of the event, which went ahead after an unexploded World War II bomb was safely removed from near the course earlier in the day.

Police were called on Saturday after a member of the public spotted the device near Putney Bridge, yards from the start of the historic event.

Marine experts examined the submerged bomb and it was removed by specialist officers.

 

Oxford led throughout for a final time of 16 minutes 59 seconds and their president Michael Disanto, who rowed for the United States at the Rio Olympics, was delighted to see the team rewarded for their hard work.

 “There is nothing like this. We were better on the day and we wanted it,” Disanto told BBC Sport.  “In the autumn nothing was going our way and we have been building and it has culminated in this.” 

Pre-race favourites Oxford won the toss, and chose to start on the same Surrey station on the south side of the river as Cambridge's women, who had earlier won the women's race.

The Oxford boat boasted two brothers, Jamie and Ollie Cook, along with William Warr, who had to banish from his mind allegations of being a traitor after racing for Cambridge in 2015.

Oxford opened up a lead of almost a boat length at around two minutes.

There was almost a clash of oars as the two boats fought for the more favourable water channels on the river, before Oxford surged ahead coming to the Hammersmith Bridge section.

Cambridge dug deep to stay as close as they could, even momentarily closing the gap, but Oxford found clear water at the end to win by a length and a half and reclaim the title.

After crossing the finish line, Jamie Cook clambered over his exhausted team mates to stagger down the boat and embrace his older brother.