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Looking ahead to the King’s Cup

Written by Angus Moore

The King’s Cup will be raced for again at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta, 100 years’ after the Peace Regatta was held in 1919. The Henley Royal Peace Regatta signified the end of the First World War and comprised of crews from Australia, America, Canada, France, New Zealand, Oxford University and Cambridge University. Australia prevailed in 1919 and all the original nations will be vying for victory once again this year, with the inclusion of Germany and the Netherlands. The original King’s Cup resides in Australia but has been flown to Henley to be on display alongside the newly minted King’s Cup trophy that will be presented to the winners on Sunday.

The original King’s Cup (Copyright RA/James Gifford-Mead)

All eight crews compromising of military personnel, will race on the Friday over four races. Saturday will see two races between the remaining four boats, and Sunday the final between the remaining two. This is the first time at the Henley Royal Regatta that an elite event will see mixed boats with both men and women competing against each other. Crews must have a minimum of two women in the boat, excluding the coxswain. The Australian crew won in 1919 meaning they have been seeded first in the knockout round format. Their first race is against the sixth seeded Netherlands crew.

The sixth seed Netherlands crew comprises of three women and six men, with varying levels of experience. Some notable results include Cadet Sergeant Mark Wijnalda winning the C&A games on ‘Holland Beker’, Sergeant Midshipman Tim Lenselink representing the Naval College in a military rowing event in Rio de Janeiro and Corporal candidate reserve officer Guus Koppes who has already competed at the Henley Royal Regatta twice.

If the Australian crew are able to win their race on Friday, they will then come up against either the New Zealand Crew or the German crew. On paper the German crew look to be the strongest of all the crews entered. This crew has a plethora of experience, most notably with the inclusion of Corporal Tim Grohmann who won a gold medal in the Men’s Quadruple Scull at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Corporal Anton Max Braun has also represented Germany at two Olympic games in 2012 and 2016, and was a member of the revered German Men’s Eight for a number of years.

Saturday at the Henley Royal Regatta is known to attract some of the biggest spectator numbers, so a showdown between the Australians and the Germans would be sure to provide a great spectacle.

If the Australian’s are able to fend off the competition on their side of the draw it will see them up against either Canada, USA (who look strong having recently come off racing at the NCAA Women and IRA Men – racing as the Naval Academy), France or the United Kingdom crew in the final on Sunday.