In an atmosphere filled with fun, cheer and sheer elation, Mahadevikadu Kattil Thekkethil Chundan (snakeboat) rowed by members of the Pallathuruthy Boat Club (PBC) won the 68th edition of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) held on Punnamada Lake here on Sunday.
The PBC, captained by Santhosh Chakko, emerged victorious in a nail-biting finish, clocking 4.30.77 minutes. With this, the club completed a hat-trick of Nehru trophy titles named after the first Prime Minister of India. They lifted the trophy in 2018 and 2019 rowing Payippadan Chundan and Nadubhagom Chundan respectively. At the same time, it is the maiden Nehru trophy for the Mahadevikadu Kattil Thekkethil Chundan.
Nadubhagom Chundan rowed by the NCDC Boat Club Kumarakom finished second. Veeyapuram Chundan (Punnamada Boat Club) and Champakulam Chundan (Police Boat Club, Alappuzha) finished in third and fourth places.
The Nehru Trophy was also the first race of the second edition of the Champions Boat League (CBL). Both the NTBR and CBL are held after a pandemic-induced gap of two years.
A total of 77 boats, including 20 snakeboats participated under nine categories in the NTBR. The event commenced with a race of smaller boats in the forenoon. The excitement was exemplified by the tens of thousands of people who turned up to witness the event dubbed as 'Olympics on water'. The decibel levels reached a crescendo when the much-anticipated heats of snakeboat competition began in the afternoon. The sight of oarsmen digging their oars in unison and vessels cleaving through the waters brought around one lakh spectators to their feet. By the time the final was held at 5 p.m., the atmosphere turned electric.
Nine top snakeboats have qualified for the 2023 edition of the CBL based on timings.
Earlier, the race was inaugurated by Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal. Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands D.K. Joshi, Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas, Agriculture Minister P. Prasad, A.M. Ariff, MP and others were in attendance.
Winners in other categories
Thekkanodi Thara Vallam (Women)- Saradhy (Police Boat Club, Alappuzha)
Thekkanodi Kettu Vallam (Women)- Chellikadan (Chaithram Kudumbashree Boat Club, Pullangady)
Churulan- Kodimatha (Koduppunna Boat Club)
Veppu 'A' grade- Manali (Police Boat Club, Alappuzha)
Veppu 'B' grade- Chiramel Thottukadavan (SSBC
Iruttukuthi 'A' grade- Moonu Thaikkal (Arpookara Boat Club, Kottayam)
Iruttukuthi 'B' grade- Thuruthipuram (Thuruthipuram Boat Club, Ernakulam)
Iruttukuthi 'C' grade- Gothuruthu (GBC, Gothuruthu)