Boat Race cancelled over virus fears

Boat Race (Getty Images)
Boat Race (Getty Images)

The annual Boat Race between the British universities of Oxford and Cambridge has been cancelled due the coronavirus.

This year's event was scheduled for March 29 and would have been the 166th men's race and the 75th women's race between the crews.

But race organisers announced on Monday that the event on the River Thames is off as a result of the deadly pandemic.

"As a result of the current situation with Covid-19, The Boat Race on 29th March has been cancelled. This decision is based entirely on our concern for the welfare of our crews, our spectators, our staff and volunteers," a statement from The Boat Race Company Limited said.

Cancelling the prestigious event, which draws thousands of fans to the riverside, is a major blow to the two teams and the local businesses which benefit from the race.

"Given the unprecedented situation our country and each of us as individuals faces, the public good far outweighs all other considerations," The Boat Race Company Limited chairman Robert Gillespie added.

"Cancellation of The Boat Race is therefore clearly the correct decision, but it is not without sad consequence.

"Our thoughts are very much with the athletes who have worked so hard and made immense sacrifices to represent their University and are now unable to do so.

"To cancel is not an easy decision and we realise this news will undoubtedly disappoint all those who look forward to the Race each year - whether watching on the riverbanks, on TV or online.

"We would like to thank our partners, fans, the local businesses and community for their continued support."

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