Sport

Royal Regatta: King's Cup Returns To Henley After 100 Year Absence

Military teams from eight countries will compete for the historic title.

In 1919, after the end of The Great War, the Peace Regatta took place at Henley - the six allied powers competing for the King's Cup at a time when sport was seen as a way to reunite the world.

Australia won and took the King's Cup back home.

Since then, it has been competed for in their national rowing championship, but has never left Aussie shores.

Competition for places in the British crew is already hotting up.
Competition for places in the British crew is already hotting up.

The six original teams - the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Great Britain will be joined by the German and Dutch rowing teams.

They will compete in identical boats, and it will be the first ever time mixed crews (with a minimum of two female crew members) will compete at the iconic venue.

This according to Air Marshal Mike Wigston - President of RAF rowing who addressed the reception - perfectly illustrates the drive for diversity and inclusion coming to the fore in military recruiting and opportunity and reflected in sport - a view echoed by the British military team.

Major Andy McDermott, British Team Assistant Manager, said:

"It's a testament to the progress made opening up all roles in the Armed Forces to both men and women and to replicate that in a sporting environment."

Military teams from eight countries will compete for the historic title.
Military teams from eight countries will compete for the historic title.

On a video link, Sir Matthew Pinsent also highlighted the importance Henley is placing on the King's Cup, a century after the original event.

Competition for places in the British crew is already hotting up, with men and women from all three services hoping to be selected.

Captain Oscar Richards is the Royal Marines British Squad captain:

"So for us this is hugely important.

"The UK Armed Forces rowing team isn't an established team, so for us it's pulling athletes from all the three services - in some cases from operations and deployment.

"It's the first time it's going to be done in the history of Henley Royal Regatta, and as well it reflects our armed forces - the new nature, the new face of our Armed Forces in terms of bringing women up to close combat troops."

The Peace Regatta took place at Henley in 1919 (Picture: AIF).
The Peace Regatta took place at Henley in 1919 (Picture: AIF).

Each of the competing nations has pledged to give an item of symbolic value to be melted down into the winners' prizes - including the Australians will be offering part of the original King's Cup.

The new trophy will be presented to the winners.

It promises to be a real highlight of the 2019 Henley Royal Regatta.

This year's event takes place from 3rd-7th July.

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