January 5, 2020 / 4:24 PM / 20 days ago

Rowing: Winckless to become first woman to officiate men's Oxford-Cambridge showdown

(Reuters) - Former British rower Sarah Winckless will be the first woman to umpire the men’s Oxford-Cambridge boat race in the event’s 166-year history.

Winckless, who won an Olympic bronze medal in Athens in 2004 with doubles partner Elise Laverick, will take charge of the race on River Thames on March 29.

The 46-year-old Winckless, a former student at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, umpired the women’s boat race in 2017 and the previous year officiated the men’s reserve race.

"To be the first female umpire in charge of the boat race is a real honour and responsibility," she told the Fitzwilliam College's website here "I don't pay attention to that part of history so much.

“As an umpire you’re to facilitate the athletes’ performance and to ensure it is clear what they need to do to stay within the rules, and allow them to perform at their best.”

Cambridge’s men have recorded 84 race wins to Oxford’s 80, while Cambridge’s women have won 44 to Oxford’s 30.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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