‘Sreeganesh chundan’ continued its winning streak at Champakulam boat race on Sunday by lifting the Rajpramukh trophy for winners in the snake boat category. . The race marked the beginning of the boat race season in the State. The snake boat was rowed by the oarsmen of Star Boat Club, Haripad.
‘Jawahar Thayankari’, rowed by the Kumarakom boat club, finished second while ‘Karichal’, rowed by the Lourde Matha Boat Club, Chennankari, finished third.
There were nine snake boats competing in the race, which also had a line up of five A grade veppu boats, four A grade Odi boats, five B grade Odi boats, four churulan boats and 3 B grade veppu boats.
There was also an exhibition contest between two ‘fibre chundan’ boats this year. Earlier, the preparations for the race started with Travancore Devaswom Board conducting the traditional rituals at the Madhathil Temple, Mappilasserry ancestral house, and Kaloorkatt Forane Church in the morning. Union Minister of State for Labour Kodikkunnil Suresh inaugurated the race. District Collector N. Padmakumar presided over the inaugural function. The preliminary rounds began after the mass drill. As the race began, people who had gathered on both shores of the river cheered the contestants.
Some could not handle the excitement and jumped into the river to get near to the boats. Intermittent rains did not dampen the spirits of the people. People also used the yet-to-be completed Champakulam bridge to view the race. There were also some anxious moments when one of the contesting boats tried to stop unsuccessfully the movement of another boat by hitting it. Some boats sank in the river. Mr. Suresh said that foundation stone had been laid for a Rs 90 lakh permanent pavilion, which would become a reality in the next year’s Moolam Boat Race.