On 24th October, the Official Challenges of The BNY Mellon Boat Race and The Newton Women’s Boat Race were issued by Cambridge at the Autumn Reception, the event which acknowledges the start of The Boat Race season. All four of the Club Presidents and some members of The 2013 BNY Mellon Boat Race and The Newton Women’s Boat Race squads attended, marking the second year of parity for the Women’s clubs, with just one year until their Race relocates to the Tideway in 2015.
The Official Challenges are laid down at the start of every season by the previous Race’s losing University Boat Club President to the President of the victorious Club. Both the Oxford Men’s and Women’s Blue Boats triumphed in the 2013 Races, so it was up to Steve Dudek and Esther Momcilovic of Cambridge to issue the Challenges on behalf of their Clubs.
The reception was held at the offices of the title sponsor, BNY Mellon, and as well as marking the start of the season, the evening was also an opportunity to celebrate the launch of official partner, JeanRichard’s new limited edition Boat Race watch. The evening was also supported by official partners, Bollinger, who provided the champagne reception, and Hackett.
Curtis Arledge, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Investment Management, BNY Mellon, commented: “We are pleased that our continued commitment to supporting The BNY Mellon Boat Race will ensure that this historic rowing competition, now in its 160th year, will enthral an expanding global audience for many years to come. The focus, integrity, teamwork and excellence demonstrated by the crews are values that are aligned with our organisation and its commitment to our clients and local communities across the world”.
Robert Gillespie, Chairman of The Boat Race Company Ltd, commented “Whilst this event marks the start of The Boat Race season, this day has been many years in the making for our triallists and in the history of our event. This is a momentous year in our history, as we celebrate The 160th Boat Race and the last year before The Women’s Boat Race moves to the Tideway, and we are delighted to share it with our title sponsors, BNY Mellon and Newton. With their Which Blue Are You? campaign entering its second year, we are excited to continue working together to enhance the event’s appeal to a UK and global audience.”
Helena Morrissey, Chief Executive Officer at Newton Investment Management commented: “I have to admit to feeling 2014 will be somewhat poignant for the Women’s Race. The end of an era is a big occasion, and I’m hoping for a great and celebratory race between the two crews. Newton is delighted to be shaping this event and I’m excited about the potential impact of the progress towards equality – not just on rowing but on female participation in sports – at both top competitive and school levels.”
Among guests at the reception were four time Olympic gold medallist and Oxford Blue, Sir Matthew Pinsent, and London 2012 gold medallist, Anna Watkins, who was unveiled as the new BNY Mellon Boat Race Ambassador. In her role as Ambassador, Anna will work alongside The BNY Mellon Boat Race Team over the season to develop greater awareness and participation in rowing. Commenting on her new role, Anna said “It is a real honour for me to become Ambassador for The BNY Mellon Boat Race. Rowing has really captured the public’s imagination since the London Olympics. I am delighted to have this opportunity to play a role in such a globally-recognised event.”
The 2014 BNY Mellon Boat Race will take place on Sunday 6th April 2014. The Newton Women’s Boat Race will take place a week earlier in Henley, on Sunday 30th March 2014.