Rebecca te Water Naudé: Welsh rower hopes more women take up the sport

Oxford women's crew
Oxford's women's crew celebrate winning the 2016 Boat Race

Welsh rower Rebecca te Water Naudé hopes more women will be encouraged to start rowing as the men's and women's Boat Race takes place on the same day.

Sunday's race will be only the third time in 163 years that the women's competition is raced on the same day and stretch of water as the men.

Te Water Naude, 20, will row for Oxford in the four and quarter mile course.

"It's a big deal, especially the women on the tideway. It sets a precedent for other women's sports," she said.

She continued: "I watched the Boat Race on TV when I was little and I had no idea there was a women's race until I was much older.

"I hope that girls and women watching it are inspired to take up more sport and enjoy it. Part of this whole thing is enjoying the process and how long it takes to build up to this one day."

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26-year-old Josh Bugajski, a third year Oncology master's student whose mother is Welsh, says representing Oxford is a momentous achievement in one of the world's signature sporting events.

"It is probably the biggest event imaginable for many rowers. I know the Olympics are put forward as the biggest in the world but I think for many people who are in the Boat Race, this can almost overshadow getting an Olympic medal," he said.

"We are billed as having trained for the last seven months but in reality there are guys who have trained for years for this one race.

"It's nice to know if you are involved in a Boat Race and especially if you win a Boat Race, your name will be carved into history and it will be there for as long as the race carries on for.

"Because of the attractiveness of the race it has brought in really top end rowers.

"That does mean the race is generally of a very high standard.

"It's very comparable to international racing. Just the prowess of it means it's a very attractive race to be part of."

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