Leicester Regatta kick-starts Row for Gold season

Leicester University claimed the bragging rights at this year’s Leicester Universities Boat Race, powering to a comfortable victory over varsity rivals De Montfort University (DMU) in the first Row for Gold Regatta of the season – the Leicester City Regatta.

Crews from across the country gathered at Leicester’s famous Mile Straight on the Grand Union Canal, and all eyes were on the city’s two universities for a fierce derby.

Taking to the water in mixed eights, both crews got off to a thunderous start. Contesting a 700m course in the heart of Leicester City centre, defending champions Leicester University took the early initiative and began eking out a narrow lead.

Fearing a second defeat in just the second year of the now annual race, DMU pulled hard in an effort to catch the flying Leicester crew but were unable to reduce the deficit.

Leicester cruised over the finish line two lengths clear of the DMU crew, regaining both the Boat Race title and bragging rights at the Leicester Rowing Club boathouse – where both university clubs are based – for another year.

“What a great race to watch” said Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor, after presenting the Leicester University crew with their winners’ medals. “These young people were out there rowing in pouring rain, giving it their all to win.  There were crowds along the tow path and on the bridges, all shouting encouragement, which made it so exciting!  What a great event for our city centre.”

The Leicester Universities Boat Race is fast becoming the highlight of Leicester Rowing Club’s annual Regatta, and it didn’t take long for members of both crews to start thinking about 2013.

“We may have won the last two races, but we never take it for granted,” said Ben Jones, President of Leicester University Boat Club. “DMU fought back over the whole stretch of water.”

DMU’s Ben Welsford added “We were so disappointed after all our training, but there’s always next year. We’ve no intention of letting them get away with a third win!”

The Leicester Regatta was the first Row for Gold Regatta of the season, bringing the magic of this year’s summer of sport to communities across the country.

Find out more about Row for Gold at www.britishrowing.org/taking-part/row-for-gold.

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