Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Chairman focused on female students

THE chairman of Henley Royal Regatta says he wants to introduce events for female students as soon as possible.

Sir Steve Redgrave said it could be done if the event was allowed to expand from five to six days.

The regatta has submitted a licensing application to Wokingham Borough Council to add an extra day, possibly as early as next year.

Sir Steve, who will oversee his fifth regatta as chairman next week, said: “To me there’s one glaring area missing, which is student women’s rowing.

“We have got parity at open events, which is rightly so in this day and age. The Olympics are moving to that next year and we have led with that side of it.

“But why should a certain age of gentlemen be able to race at the regatta and we don’t make any offer for the females?” He said that having a sixth day would allow the races to be more spread out.

Sir Steve said: “I’m certainly not looking at expansion of the number of crews that we have got coming.

“The main reason, from my point of view, is we start racing on the first day at 9am and we go through to 8pm.

“The regatta is run by its volunteers. If we don’t get the officials this regatta and rowing as a sport would not exist.

“It’s not saying we would definitely do it — we’re keeping our options open.”

Sir Steve also dismissed claims made by John Halsall, the leader of Wokingham Borough Council and vice-chairman of Remenham Parish Council, that the regatta didn’t pay towards the cost of policing and traffic management required during the event.

He said the regatta put a “significant” amount into both.

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