Belfast Telegraph

Cambridge to cause splash on the Lagan

By Frank Brownlow

Just before Ulster rowers Alan Campbell and brothers Richard and Peter Chambers go for gold at the Olympics, Belfast will stage an event that will set the tone for what’s to come at London 2012.

In a first for Northern Ireland, the University of Cambridge will be sending some of their best rowers to compete in the Ramada Plaza Belfast University Boat Race on Saturday June 2.

Due to its increasing popularity, the event is also moving to a new home this year, with the finish line on the River Lagan now situated opposite Queen’s PEC.

Over 1,000 spectators will be accommodated in the new enclosure, with live entertainment, food and refreshments available until 10pm on the day.

Cambridge will race against Queen’s senior men’s and women’s teams, who have recently achieved medal wins in Belgium and England as well as closer to home in Northern Ireland.

At the recent British Universities Rowing Championships in Sheffield, Queen’s had crews in 17 ‘A’ finals and took home six medals. Queen’s ladies’ medal at the event was their first ever.

In its best line-up yet, the event will also feature crews from Trinity College Dublin, Methodist College Belfast, Bann RC, Blackrock College Dublin and University College Dublin, with Lady Victoria BC managing proceedings.

Helping launch this year’s event, Queen’s Rowing Coach Mick Desmond said: “The Ramada Plaza Belfast University Boat Race has grown to become a key event in the rowing calendar across the UK and Ireland.

“Queen’s now has a reputation as a force to be reckoned with and with the added spice of the Cambridge crew this year we can expect to see some very competitive action on the Lagan.

“The new enclosure and entertainment on offer will also ensure spectators really get the chance to enjoy an authentic rowing regatta experience.”

In another first for the event, The Outlet Village in Banbridge is sponsoring a best dressed competition for both men and women.

There is also backing from the Department for Social Development, Belfast City Council and Northern Ireland Tourism.

Racing starts at 12.30pm with the senior races at 4.00pm and 4.30pm.

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