Friday 15 November 2019

Security to be ramped up at Colleges Boat Race to avoid repeat of last year

Simon Peach

ADDITIONAL measures are being taken to ensure next month's Boat Race avoids similar scenes to those that marred last year's event.

The 158th annual race between Oxford and Cambridge universities on April 7, 2012 had to be halted after a protester swum into the path of the crews.

Trenton Oldfield was jailed for six months for causing a public nuisance, with the judge saying in sentencing that his actions had endangered his life and those of others.

Boat Race Company Ltd executive director David Searle echoed those sentiments today, firing a warning shot across the bows of anybody thinking of pulling a similar stunt on March 31.

"It is very, very difficult to stop someone if they want to do it," he told Press Association Sport.

"We've got eight and a half miles of riverbank where somebody could go in so it is very, very difficult to stop people.

"We are taking additional measures this year and we have looked at all of our actions last year.

"We've reviewed them and thought about how we would react slightly differently, not much differently, if it happened this year.

"We had practised emergency stops and it worked. We got the race restarted eventually and it finished.

"What I would say is that anybody thinking of doing that, please don't do it. Don't try it.

"It is unbelievably dangerous. It is not somewhere you want to go swimming for a start but when you've got two boats going that fast you are potentially putting your life at risk, the lives of the participants at risk, the lives of the following flotilla at risk as well.

"If they have to start taking avoiding action, they could be crashing into bridges or whatever. All sorts of problems could follow from there.

"If you get hit by a boat and you go down, you don't come back. That's it. Nobody is going to jump in after them because it is too dangerous.

"All I can say, if you do it, you risk getting killed, which would be tragic for them and for the people involved. Nobody wants that to happen.

"This is just a sporting event so don't even go there is what I would say."

PA Media

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