Oxford cox reveals sickness suffered by team ahead of Boat Race

Oxford University struggled in defeat to rivals Cambridge (AFP via Getty Images)
Oxford University struggled in defeat to rivals Cambridge (AFP via Getty Images)

The Oxford men’s cox, William Denegri, revealed his team had been ill before the race, as Cambridge won both the men’s and women’s Boat Races.

The build-up to the race was overshadowed by concerns over the water quality after high levels of E coli bacteria were found in the River Thames.

New safety guidance was issued, and teams opted out against the traditional celebration where the winning cox receives a ducking in the water and teammates jump into the river.

“This week we’ve had three people who’ve had to miss sessions because they’ve had stomach bugs,” Denegri said, reported by The Guardian.

“Whether that’s related to E coli in the river I don’t know. But it’s certainly not helped our campaign. That’s a poor excuse, it’s not an excuse, but it’s definitely not helped our preparation.”

Denegri’s comments came after Leonard Jenkins bemoaned there was “too much poo in the water” after the race, and said he had been ill the morning of the race.

The Oxford and Cambridge crews were advised to wash themselves down at a dedicated cleansing station at the finish of the race.

Jelmer Bennema, the Dutchman on Oxford’s men’s team reportedly opted out of the dinner after the race because of illness, and was not believed to be one of the ones suffering earlier.

The Cambridge men’s cox, Ed Bracey, said he would have been happy to be thrown in the water as per the tradition, although he was overruled by the Cambridge coach, Rob Baker, who believed his team had been “lucky” to be “healthy” following their training.

In the race itself, Cambridge secured the men’s and women’s double. The women, despite Oxford being strong favourites, claimed their sixth successive victory.

In the men’s race, Oxford were the favourites, but Cambridge soared ahead from the outset with an impressive rhythm that the more powerful “Dark Blues”, despite having the advantage of the longer Surrey bend, could not recover from.