Uru to take Oxford's bow seat in Boat Race

Southland rower Storm Uru.
Southland rower Storm Uru.

Olympic bronze medal-winning Southland rower Storm Uru will create more history when he tries to help Oxford to victory against Cambridge in one of world sport's oldest and most prestigious events on Monday.

Uru will sit in the bow seat in the Oxford eight, one of three Olympians in the crew for the 160th edition of the great race, while fellow New Zealander Sam O'Connor has retained his No 7 seat after making his debut last year. "I am absolutely delighted to be in the Blue Boat and to represent Oxford at the highest level," Uru said.

"I came to Oxford to pursue a world-class MBA and combine it with my passion for rowing."

A bronze medallist in the lightweight double at the London Olympics, Uru has been training up to six hours a day to gain a spot among the heavyweight Oxford crew. It is believed to be the first time a Southlander has competed in the Boat Race, as the annual tradition is referred to.

Thousands line the banks of The Tideway, between Putney and Mortlake in London, to watch the race each year, with millions more viewing on television.

Cambridge lead the series 81-77, with one deadheat.

Uru's mother, Robbie, said she had not initially realised how important the Boat Race was but had since educated herself on the history and prestige which surrounded it.

Some thought had been given to getting the Southland rowing community together to watch the coverage from 5am on Monday via a live stream on the internet, but the Urus will be happy to watch it at home.

Bill Uru, Storm's father, said it was unheard of for a lightweight to be selected for the race. A win would also complete a nice Uru family double, with younger brother Jade in the bow seat for Waikato during their 2013 win over the University of Sydney and Cambridge on the Waikato River.

Invercargill Rowing Club life member Ian Hamilton said it would be another proud achievement for Uru.

"To get a scholarship to Oxford and then get selected to race, it's another feather in his cap," Hamilton said. "Being a lightweight and getting in as heavyweight, I know he's had to put on a bit of weight, but it's a good effort to make the crew."

Peter Tufano, dean of Oxford's Said Business School, said Uru had done well to balance his sporting and academic demands.

"The skills and strength of mind Storm has shown in his race preparation and throughout the MBA will stand him in good stead for his business career."


The Southland Times