There will be not one but two Boat Races on the River Thames this year, and for BBC broadcaster Eleanor Oldroyd the end of the “Men Only” event is a triumph for women in sport.
Female rowers from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge will, for the first time in the race’s history, compete on the same day and on the same course as the men this Saturday 11th April, marking an end to what Oldroyd calls “one of the biggest inequities in sport.”
“Until this Saturday, the Thames on Boat Race day was strictly Men Only,” the BBC Radio 5 Live broadcaster writes in Radio Times. “Their female counterparts were sidelined, either to the Isis in Oxford or the Cam in Cambridge, or more recently to Henley-on-Thames.
“Now they’ve achieved equality – same course, same distance, same prize money, same BBC TV coverage, to an expected global audience of 100 million. ‘The Boat Race’ has finally become ‘The Boat Races’.”
The women’s boat race will begin at 4.50pm this Saturday, with the men’s race taking place at 5.50pm. Both races will be broadcast live on BBC1.
“I think it’s one of the most significant victories yet in the battle to give women equal treatment in the world of sport,” says Oldroyd. “It’s a game-changing move at a time when women’s sport is at last levelling the playing field.”
Read Eleanor Oldroyd’s comments in full in this week’s Radio Times, in shops and available on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 7 April.