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Learning English - Words in the News
03 April, 2006 - Published 15:00 GMT
Oxford winners of Boat Race
Oxford win Boat Race
Oxford beat Cambridge in 152nd Boat Race

A team of rowers from the University of Oxford have beaten Cambridge in Britain's annual Boat Race on the River Thames. Oxford have won the contest on the River Thames 73 times compared to 78 for Cambridge.

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It was a hard slog in choppy water but Oxford took the lead from the start. The Cambridge boat took in a lot of water which slowed it down. Unlike Oxford, Cambridge weren't carrying a pump to get rid of the extra weight.

Cambridge were tipped as the favourites but the Oxford crew rowed faster throughout the race. By the time Oxford crossed the finish line, Cambridge were lagging far behind.

The University Boat Race is a uniquely British institution but it's taken on a distinctly international character. It dates back to 1829 and is now broadcast on television in more than a hundred countries. And of the sixteen rowers in the two boats, only five were British this year. It was the first time a French rower had taken part for at least a century. There were also four Americans, three Germans, two Canadians and an Australian.

Critics have accused the Boat Race of abandoning its traditions and becoming commercial. But the universities and the rowers themselves have countered that the presence of world-class international oarsmen has made the race more popular.

Listen to the words

hard slog
a difficult and tiring job

choppy water
uneven waves in the sea or a river

tipped as the favourites
thought to be the likely winners

team who worked on the boat

crossed the finish line
went past the point that was the end of the race

not going as fast as something/ someone else

People who disagree with or disapprove of something or someone (here the othe organisers of the race)

abandoning its traditions
stopping doing something that it had done for many years


disagreed by putting forward another argument

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