Monday, 20 September 2021

An exciting feast of rowing from every angle

I AM really looking forward to my second Henley Royal Regatta as chairman. As always, it is

I AM really looking forward to my second Henley Royal Regatta as chairman. As always, it is the highlight of the domestic rowing calendar and I can’t wait for the event to get under way on Wednesday.

We have had a record number of entries this year and the racing looks set to be as exciting as ever. A total of 629 crews will compete, smashing the previous record of 552 set in 1998.

International entries are also at a record high, with 165 crews from 27 nations entered for this year’s event, beating the 2012 high of 133 entries.

Despite the absence of many crews who are competing at the Olympic Games in Rio, the quality of the racing on show will still be exceptional and it is a real chance for some new crews to get their hands on silverware.

But while the British crews are away preparing for Rio, some others will appear at the regatta before jetting off to Brazil. Reigning Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale, of New Zealand, will be looking to make it six wins in the Diamond Challenge Sculls, equalling Australian Stuart MacKenzie’s record, which has stood for more than 50 years.

Other Rio-bound crews include the Dutch eight, winners of the first two World Cup races this year, in the Grand Challenge Cup.

Following on from a successful debut last year, the regatta will again be televised and available to stream online. We had some excellent feedback on the coverage from members after last year’s regatta, which allowed people from across the world to watch the racing from their homes. This year it will be live on BT Sport too with coverage from 1pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and for the entirety of Saturday and Sunday’s races.

Dozens of cameras and a drone captured the drama throughout the week last year and such was the success of the project, we have increased the drone take-off platforms, so the drone can now capture aerial footage of each section of the regatta course, which will improve the coverage from last year.

Thousands of people will descend on Henley for the five days of the regatta and I’m confident they will be in for a feast of exciting rowing.

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