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Ocean crossing not good enough

NOV. 30 — A prestigious rowing club has denied membership to a British woman who rowed more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic earlier this year.

Roz Savage who is 38, says in news reports that she is upset that the Leander Club,which calls itself the “world’s oldest and most renowned rowing club,” admits male OxfordUniversity rowers but not women. Savage has rowed twice for Oxford in the Oxford and Cambridge boat race.

“It is a very prestigious club and I really would not want to say a word against them but it did cause me a little upset,” Savage says in a news report. “The question it did raise in my mind was why they admit men who have rowed for Oxford and my two half blues [an award earned by sportsmen and sportswomen at Oxford lang="EN"]were not enough?”

In its rejection letter the club says Savage lacks the qualities of an “excellent” rower, news reports say. “Unfortunately the committee is of the opinion that Miss Savage fails to meet the criteria we use in assessing ‘proficiency of oarsmanship,’ which is a measure of excellence rather than endurance,” the letter reportedly reads.

In 2005 Savage became the first woman to compete solo in the Atlantic Rowing Race, which kicked off in the Canary Islands and finished early this year in Antigua. Savage is also planning in 2007 to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific.

“I only made the point about [the club’s] apparent sexism of the decision in case any other women, to whom membership may matter more, wanted to join,” Savage says on her Web site.

— Jason Fell