Home Sport Women's Boat Race argument breaks out as Oxford lodge complaint to disqualify...

Women's Boat Race argument breaks out as Oxford lodge complaint to disqualify Cambridge

The Women’s Boat Race came to a tense conclusion on Saturday as Oxford’s cox, Joe Gellett, raised a complaint against Cambridge over a mid-race collision. The two boats made contact part-way through the contest before Cambridge roared on to victory, but the result was put on hold while Gellett debated with umpire Richard Phelps.

The heavily fancied Oxford crew came racing out of the blocks on a glorious spring day in west London, but it wasn’t long before underdogs Cambridge before clawing back the deficit.

Having edged their bow in front, Cambridge received a warning from Phelps when it became clear that the two boats were at risk of making contact. The umpire then had to raise his voice and direct instructions towards the Oxford crew, when they seemingly steered in and bumped their opponents boat.

The collision caused Oxford to lose significant ground which they never made up, and Cambridge produced a shock result by powering to the finish line with daylight between themselves and their rivals.

Oxford’s cox, Gellett, was unwilling to take the result lying down, however. After the race he raised a hand to signal his intention to raise a complaint against Cambridge, and umpire Phelps – a former Olympic rower himself – consequently held a red flag aloft.

Rules of the Boat Race state: “It shall be considered a foul, when after each race has started, there shall be any physical contact between the boats, oars, or persons, of the two crews. In the event of a foul occurring either crew may claim, to the Umpire, that the other crew be disqualified.

“If the crew making the claim was in its proper course, and the crew against whom the claim is made was out of its proper course, the latter shall be disqualified unless the foul was so slight as not to influence the race. In this case the crew against who the claim was made shall only be disqualified if, in the opinion of the Umpire, it has seriously or deliberately encroached on the course of the crew making the claim.”


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