In pictures: Thames Punting Club Championship Regatta 2014

In pictures: Thames Punting Club Championship Regatta 2014

Reporter:

Michael Owens

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In pictures: Thames Punting Club Championship Regatta 2014

Punters from the Thames's clubs took to the course from Bray Reach to Maidenhead yesterday for the highlight of the sport's competitive season.

Entrants from four of the Thames' six punting clubs took to their narrow craft and propelled themselves down the river and back in the 129th annual Thames Punting Club Championship Regatta.

Members of Dittons Skiff and Punting Club, Wargrave Boating Club, The Skiff Club from Teddington and Thames Valley Skiff Club from Walton on Thames took part in the event's 14 races.

The clubs are unique to the Thames and punt racing enjoyed a surge in popularity at the beginning of the last century, counting Lord Desborough as one of its most successful athletes.

The biggest regattas attracted many more clubs and thousands of spectators.

However, with dwindling numbers the sports governing body, the Thames Punting Club, hopes to build its popularity and highlight the strength and skill involved to manoeuvre the approximately 28ft craft at speed. 

"It is a smaller competition compared to those 100 years ago," said Thames Punting Club president Simon Leifer.

"We're keeping a piece of history alive and we're trying to think about what we can do to make it more popular because it's quite a skilful sport."

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