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Date set for the 2021 Boat Race in Ely

The Boat Races will be held on the Great Ouse on Easter Sunday. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Boat Races will be held on the Great Ouse on Easter Sunday. Picture: Keith Heppell

The date has been set for the 2021 Boat Races to take place on the Great Ouse in Ely.

It has been confirmed that the 166th men’s race and 75th women’s race will take place on Sunday, April 4.

The Boat Race Company Limited (BRCL) confirmed last week that it will be moving from London to Cambridgeshire because of the challenge of planning a high-profile amateur event around Covid-related restrictions as well as uncertainty regarding the safety and navigation of Hammersmith Bridge on the Championship Course on the Tideway.

The bridge has been closed for 18 months because of structural problems, and all river traffic was banned from going underneath it in August after larger cracks were discovered.

The races will be held on Easter Sunday after discussions with the BBC and consultation with East Cambridgeshire District Council and the Environment Agency. But they will be held ‘behind closed doors’ with the BRCL urging fans to get involved at home and respect any restrictions that may be in place at the time.

Dr George Gilbert, chair of BRCL’s race and operations committee, said: “We would like to thank the BBC, our broadcasting partner, for their continued support.

“We are all looking forward to bringing the 75th Women's and the 166th Men's Boat Race to sports fans on BBC 1.

“In the more intimate setting of the Great Ouse, there are exciting new possibilities for safely filming the event and we will be bringing you closer to the action, on and off the water."

It will be on the stretch of the Great Ouse between Ely and Littleport - which is likely to be three miles, a mile shorter than the Putney to Mortlake course. The river has hosted the race before, during the Second World War in 1944 when Oxford won.

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