The annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR), which was not held for the last two years due to the outbreak of COVID-19, was won for the third time in a row by the Pallathuruthi Boat Club here on Sunday.
The winning snake boat, named ‘Mahadevikad Kattil Thekethil Chandan’ crossed the finishing line in 4 minutes and 30 seconds, followed by ‘Nadubhagam Chandan’ by NCDC Boat Club.
With a photo-finish victory, Pallathuruthi Boat Club topped the first round of the second edition of the Champions Boat League (CBL-2), an official release from Kerala Tourism said.
CBL is based on the Indian Premier League in cricket.
The CBL name of the winning club is Tropical Titans, which took 4.30.77 minutes to cover 1,050 meters, while the runners-up – Mighty Ors – clocked 4.30.57 to cover the same distance, the release said.
“Organised by Kerala Tourism, the CBL, with nine snake boat teams, organizes 12 rounds of races on consecutive Saturdays till November 26. The next weekend will have an Onam-time break, followed by a second round again on September Will start at. 17,” it said.
Thousands of spectators from across the state used to visit the venue in the morning to watch the sports event organized at Punnamada Lake here.
People had been waiting since morning to race on houseboats and even on top of houses on the banks of the river.
Named after the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the 68th edition of the boat race was inaugurated by Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal.
In a speech at the event, Balagopal said, according to the release, that the government is planning to host a new boat race for Malabar, with the Chaliyar being the focal river running along Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.
State Tourism Minister PA Mohammad Rias, who also addressed the gathering of the festival, was of the view that the return of NTBR and CBL would give a boost to tourism in the state.
The Snakeboats or ‘Chundan’ were flagged off by the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Admiral DK Joshi, who was also the chief guest of the event.
The audience also included foreign nationals who were there to catch a glimpse of the event, which is considered to be one of the biggest water sports events in the country.
The boat race is named after Nehru to commemorate his visit to Kuttanad in 1952, during his first visit to Kerala after independence.
At that time they were escorted by huge snake-boats on their way from Kottayam to Alappuzha.
Impressed by the welcome and the overwhelming enthusiasm of sailing in a snake boat, Nehru donated a rolling trophy to honor the winner. This trophy was later named ‘Nehru Trophy.