The 65th edition of Kerala’s most famous sporting event Nehru Trophy Boat Race took place today with chief minster Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurating the event at 2 pm. Named after the first prime minister of India late Jawahar Lal Nehru, the event is organised on the second Saturday of August every year. According to a report by News Nation, as many as 78 boats took part in the event out of which 24 of them were chundans (snake boats). Twenty snake boats took part in the race in five heats while the other four were part of exhibition race. According to the official website, the fiercely fought boat race is held at the tranquil lake front which is transformed into a sea of humanity with an estimated two lakh people, including tourists from abroad for watching it.
The course is 1.4 km long in Punnamada Lake. The 100-120 feet long canoes made of a wood locally called ‘Aanjili thadi’ carrying as many as 90- 110 rowers which move like a snake through the channels (hence the name) is surely an eye catching sight for any tourist. A trophy, which is a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus with an inscription and along with Nehru’s signature, is awarded to the winner of the snake boat category every year.
Several galleries and pavilions were installed so as to accommodate the huge crowd which came to cheer their favourite team. The News Nation report also claimed that several politicians including Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, Kerala’s ministers G. Sudhakaran, T.M. Thomas Isaac, E. Chandrasekharan were supposed to grace the event. However, Financial Express could not verify who all were present during the event.
It is also being reported that local administration has put in immense effort to ensure smooth conduction of the affair. As the previous editions of the event have experienced disputes and clashes, the authorities have installed a mechanized starting system. Even a digital platform which can count the time of the boats was installed at the finishing point.
The report also stated that the race was broadcasted live on Doordarshan while All India Radio (AIR) also did the running commentary.