Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Oxford romp to boat race victory

Oxford's cox Oskar Zorrilla is thrown into the river by his teammates as they celebrate winning the 159th Boat Race

Oxford have romped to victory in the 159th Boat Race amid heightened security as organisers managed to avoid a repeat of last year's disruption.

Royal Marines were drafted in to patrol the River Thames after the 2012 race was halted when Trenton Oldfield swam into the path of the two crews.

Bookies favourite Oxford led for most of the race and crossed the finish line a length-and-a-half ahead of Cambridge.

Marines were stationed in inflatable boats along the four-and-a-quarter mile course to ensure the annual event passed without incident.

Last year's dramatic race also saw Oxford bowman Alex Woods collapse after crossing the finish line.

Oxford were clear favourites to win the race after more than 70% of bets were placed on the Dark Blues, according to bookmaker William Hill.

The winning crew finished in 17 minutes and 27 seconds to cut Cambridge's overall lead to 81-77.

Matthew Pinsent, who umpired the race for the first time, said it had been a "busy but enjoyable experience".

The four-time Olympic rowing champion, who won the race with Oxford in 1990 and 1991, said: "It goes very quickly when you're in charge of umpiring it."

Asked if he had been concerned about security going into the race following last year's incident, he said: "Thankfully, not my responsibility. The ramifications would have been interesting - I would have had to sort out the race if there is an interruption but thankfully nothing happened."

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