Stage is set for rowing showdown
(6 May 2009)
Rowers from Durham and Newcastle Universities have dominated the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) regatta, held in Nottingham over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The two universities successfully defended their previous year's first and second places, setting the stage for a thrilling battle between the North East's two leading universities, when they go head to head in the 13th annual University Boat Race on the River Tyne this Saturday. Durham University were crowned British University champions with 1,252 points, and 26 medals (13 gold, seven silver and six bronze), while Newcastle secured second place with 585 points and 13 medals (two gold, seven silver and four bronze). It is the sixth consecutive year that Durham have rowed off with the coveted Victor Ludorum trophy for the best overall performance at the British Universities event. The largest student rowing event in Europe saw Durham and Newcastle competing against 900 teams from 60 UK universities, including powerful opposition from Oxford and Cambridge, Imperial College, Reading and Nottingham, proving the supremacy of the North East's universities for rowing. Rowers from both universities put in great team and individual performances. For Durham, Sarah Coburn and Emily Taylor each won three gold, one silver and one bronze medals, and Sarah Harding three golds. For Newcastle, Andrew Corrigan won one gold and two silver medals, Ed Ford won a gold and a silver medal and Mason Durant won two silver and one bronze medals. In a first for NUBC, Vicky Phelan and Kate Beswick won the first Championship Gold medal in the women's lightweight pair. Wade Hall-Craggs, Durham University's senior rowing coach, said: "This is a huge achievement by all the students, volunteers, athletic union, colleges and coaching team involved, and proves what a significant part sport plays in the University. This scale of result would not be possible without the University's wholehearted support." Angelo Savarino, Newcastle University's Head Coach said: "We are proud of all our athletes' achievements, especially the women's lightweight pair of Vicky and Kate, who secured NUBC's first ever Championship Gold medal". Durham University's Director of Sport, Dr Peter Warburton added: "The students were magnificent ambassadors for Durham University, and we are very proud of them all." And Newcastle University's Director of Sport, Colin Blackburn, added: "NUBC has once again excelled at the BUCS Regatta. This result is testimony to the quality and dedication of our athletes, coaches and support staff not only at this event but throughout the year. They have all been a credit to themselves, NUBC and Newcastle University".