THE University of Pretoria (Tuks) reigned supreme with a double win in this year Rand Merchant Bank-sponsored Universities Boat Race.
For the second consecutive year the event, the biggest and most contested rowing race on the rowing calendar, was hosted by the Halyards Hotel on the East Bank of the Kowie River.
In the Men’s A final, Tuks, a race favourite and winners of the Cambridge Rudder for the previous seven years, fought to the end against a very determined Rhodes University crew. Rhodes took the silver medal last year behind Tuks and entered the water with gold in sight. But history repeated itself and while Rhodes fought rudder and blade until the last moment, Tuks retained their champion status by beating Rhodes by 10seconds.
From the start point, 6.2km up river, both Tuks and Rhodes started off strong rowing oar to oar, but Tuks proved to be too powerful for the Rhodents and pulled away, creating a gap of one boat length between the two teams. Tuks’ advantage grew until Rhodes suddenly caught up at Centenary Corner, 2km into the race.
Navigating tricky corners and avoiding river banks, the two teams kept fighting along the Kowie until Tuks regained their advantage coming into Wreck Corner in the last sprint towards the finish line.
An elated Tuks crew celebrated their win while the Rhodes crew licked their wounds while paddling into the Port Alfred small boat harbour.
The Women’s A final saw Tuks take the Isis Blade from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) team who had dominated for the last two years as the leading ladies’ crew. The women’s A Tuks crew last won the event in 2014 and were determined to take the gold this year.
See the next edition of TotT (September 21) for full story and more results.