Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 08:45 UK

Royal Regatta to mark 100 years

Henley Royal Regatta
Many of the crews will use the regatta as an Olympic warm-up

More than 1,600 rowers from 18 nations will take part in the Henley Royal Regatta which begins on Wednesday.

This year marks 100 years since the town staged the first Olympic Regatta which runs until Sunday.

The annual rowing competition takes place over a stretch of the Thames, just under a mile-and-a-half in length, on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire border.

Organisers are expecting more than 30,000 people to gather at the banks of the river for the opening day.

Olympic gold medallists Kieran West and Johnny and Greg Searle are among the British stars set to take part.

Mike Sweeney, chairman of the committee of management, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to attract such a significant entry for this year's regatta despite the pressure of this being the Olympic qualification year.

"All the planning and preparation has gone well and we are now ready for racing to start."

Entries taking part this year include crews from Japan, Estonia, Australia, South Africa and Russia.


SEE ALSO
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