Royal Marines on alert for Boat Race protest in London

LONDON (AFP) - Royal Marines will be drafted in to patrol the Boat Race on the River Thames on Sunday to ensure the annual event is not disrupted by another protester.

The race between the university crews from Oxford and Cambridge was dramatically interrupted last year when Australian Trenton Oldfield swam into the path of the boats and only narrowly avoided being struck by an oar.

Organisers are determined to ensure there is no repeat for the 159th race and security has been improved, with the Marines set to patrol London's River Thames in inflatable boats.

"We are taking additional measures this year and have reviewed all of our actions last year in detail," Boat Race executive director David Searle said.

"The Boat Race course is four-and-a-quarter miles long so we have eight-and-a-half miles of riverbank to manage and monitor.

"What I would say to anybody thinking of disrupting the race is that it's unbelievably dangerous. You risk injuring yourself, the crews and the other people following the race.

"Nobody wants that to happen. This is just a sporting event."

Oldfield, 36, was released from prison in December after serving seven weeks of a six-month sentence. He was found guilty of causing a public nuisance.

He has since been contacted by the Metropolitan Police by letter and on Twitter to establish whether he was planning any action this year.

But Oldfield told The Spectator magazine that he would "probably have a ramble across the Cotswolds instead".

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