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Oxford rower Dr Alex Woods on his Thames boat race collapse after anti-elitism protest

Monday, April 9, 2012
2:30 PM

The Oxford rower who collapsed at the finish of the chaotic River Thames boat race against Cambridge following disruption by an anti-elitism protester, has revealed he cannot remember almost half the race.

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Dr Alex Woods was pictured slumped in the back of the boat following the conclusion of the race, on Saturday. He lay prone for up to five minutes before medics could reach him to administer treatment to the 27-year-old.

Three days later, he spoke of what happened to him during the contest - which was halted for 30 minutes by a protestor in the water between the boats, at Chiswick.

When the race eventually re-started, Oxford lost an oar during a collision with Cambridge – meaning Woods and his colleagues had to row even harder in a doomed bid to keep up with their rivals.

The huge effort overwhelmed Dr Woods when his team eventually crossed over the finish line. In a statement today, he even said sorry for causing worry.

“I’d like to thank everybody for all of their concern and for their kind wishes over the last couple of days, it really does mean a lot. I’m sorry for causing any worry! I am pleased to say that I am on the mend and that the doctors have allowed me to return home to recover. I should be fine in a few days.

I’d like to thank the paramedics, Dr Sichel, 1st Response Medical Services, the St John’s Ambulance staff and everyone at A+E and the Cardiology unit at Charing Cross Hospital for their great care. I hope that I can reach the same standards when I qualify.

“I’m very proud of Zoe and all of the guys. I feel privileged to have lived, trained and raced with them and it has been an honour to call them my crew mates. It is a shame that we’ll finish this year having never raced the whole Boat Race course together.

“I don’t remember anything of the Race after being aware of the blade breaking, and am obviously devastated at the way things turned out, but would like to congratulate CUBC for their win.

“I have contacted their crew and Steve Trapmore personally, to say that I’m very sorry that my collapse prevented their celebrations, and to thank them for thinking of me at the time.

“Such sportsman-like behaviour is a real credit to all of their crew and everyone at CUBC. Although The Boat Race 2012 will be remembered for a number of unfortunate reasons, I hope it is some of these qualities that will keep the Race in people’s minds for years to come.”

Trenton Oldfield, 35, was held by police following the incident.

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