Interview with Stephen Royle and Richard Pryce-Jones
Moscow's City Day celebrations will see the city hosting its first ever International Academic Rowing Regatta.
The big draw will be the world famous rowing teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities, who will compete against each.
Also taking up the oars will be teams from the University of Washington and Russia's State University of Physical Education.
Stephen Royle, Oxford University Director of Rowing and Richard Pryce-Jones, the executive secretary of the Cambridge University Boat Club, joined Russia Today to comment on the forthcoming International Academic Rowing Regatta in Moscow.
Russia Today: The rowing event between Oxford and Cambridge Universities happens every year. Tell us a bit more about the tradition. How did it all start?
Stephen Royle: It started in 1829 as a challenge between students of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. They decided they wanted to race each other in boats and that was the first boat race, which was held on the Thames, in Henley actually, and it was a success. 10,000 people turned up to watch this in relatively sleepy town. Then the race was moved to London. Now it is held on the tideway. We’ve had 153 or 154 races to date.
RT: So ever since it started in 1829, this event has been held in the UK and you’ve never travelled abroad – if that's correct?
Richard Pryce-Jones: This is the first time that we will have competed against each other in Russia, certainly.
RT: How do you feel about that?
R.P.-J.: We are very excited, certainly. It is going to be a keenly contest this afternoon, against the Russian University, Washington State University and Oxford.
RT: So, two teams will be competing against you. How would you assess the competition?
S.R.: Well, we are on our vacation at the moment. So I’m sure the competition will be good – whenever we line up against Cambridge, we want to make sure we beat them. That’s the first line of our constitution, and I'm sure Moscow and Washington will be tough competitors as well.
RT: Why did you decide to come to Moscow? You said this is your first time ever competing in Russia?
R.P.-J.: Well, it is a very exciting invitation to receive. We had the invitation before Christmas last year, before the race that took place in March this year, from GSA sports marketing, and we decided to accept and we're enjoying it so far and I’m looking forward to the racing this afternoon.
RT: How long did it take you to prepare for this event?
S.R.: We have students training throughout the year, so it is not a question of preparing for any one particular event.
RT: How did you find the Moscow facilities and how did your teams receive Moscow?
S.R.: They're thrilled to be here and they're enjoying the experience.
R.P.-J.: Yes, it was an exciting experience rowing on the river yesterday, and the facilities are first class, the boats are good. We've brought our own oars so that we can have our own respective colours, Oxford their dark-blue and we have our light-blue – it’s good.
RT: Moscow is also celebrating City Day and this event is also a part of the celebrations. Do you think it will start a tradition to hold such events in Russia, in Moscow in particular? Will it become an annual thing here – what do you think?
S.R.: Hopefully, it will. We are ambassadors, if you like, of the rowing world. So, Oxford and Cambridge get invitations all around the world. So hopefully it will set a trend and as I’ve understood from GSA that’s exactly what they want to do.
RT: So you're ready to fight?
Both: Certainly – ready to go!