ROWERS from across the country will take up their oars in battle on a stretch of the River Thames this weekend.
The City of Oxford Rowing Club will host its two-day Royal Regatta on the River Isis.
More than 300 crews from all over the UK will take part in 500 races over the course of the rowing spectacle.
Regatta committee secretary David Reid said: “This is one of the few royal regattas in the country so it’s quite prestigious to have that royal status.
“It means that we are one of the leading royal regattas in the country. It helps put Oxford on the map.
“Rowing is a really important sport in Britain and, like any sport, the local clubs are really its life blood.”
More than 50 club members and a 10-strong regatta committee have helped to organise the sporting event.
They have been making arrangements throughout the year, but have stepped up efforts during the last three months. The Meadow Lane rowing club has been organising the historic rowing event since 1856 and the format for this year’s remains unchanged since the competition’s inception.
Mr Reid said: “If we didn’t have this event it would really damage Oxford’s cultural heritage and it would damage something that makes Oxford unique and special as a city.
“Rowing is more than just a sport in my mind, it’s in a way a bit more of an art.
“There’s something beautiful about a perfectly rowed boat.”
Competitors will take part in a 1,000-metre course on the River Isis tomorrow and a 500m Sprint Regatta on Sunday.
Teams will race two at a time, beginning at 8.30am and continuing until the evening.
Crews of all abilities will gather to compete in both courses, as well as a host of other British Rowing events.
The regatta will also feature adaptive sculling races for disabled rowers, and races for juniors aged between 11 and 18.
Rowers up the age of 80 are also expected to enter the regatta’s competitions.
Races will see two teams battle to knock their opponent out of the running and progress their way through the competition.
Age-old rivalry between cities will be replicated as teams from Cambridge will travel to the event and winners will be awarded with pewter tankards.
Following the regatta, a Corporate Eights Challenge will be held. Businesses and organisations across the city have been invited to enter teams of eight staff members into the competition.
Participants have been busy preparing with an eight-session rowing crash-course throughout July and will enjoy a prize-giving ceremony and barbecue after the race.
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