Troubled waters: Boat Race switches rivers for 2021 edition

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Safety fears over Hammersmith Bridge have forced Boat Race organisers to switch the 2021 event away from the Thames

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race will switch from London's Thames to the Great Ouse in Ely in 2021 due to coronavirus-related restrictions and safety concerns, organisers said on Thursday.

"Organising sport safely and responsibly is our highest priority and moving the Boat Race to Ely in 2021 enables the event to go ahead in a secure environment," said George Gilbert, chairman of the Boat Race Company's race and operations committee.

The men's race has previously been held once in the Cambridgeshire city, in the east of England, in 1944, when World War II made it impossible to stage in London.

This time it has been selected because of Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainty over the safety of London's Hammersmith Bridge, which the rowers pass under on the Thames.

The men's and women's races were cancelled this year because of the virus lockdown.