Kerala

Ripples of excitement back at Pulikkayam rapids

A kayaker splashing down the Chalippuzha river as part of the international white-water kayaking championship at Pulikkayam in Kozhikode on Friday.

A kayaker splashing down the Chalippuzha river as part of the international white-water kayaking championship at Pulikkayam in Kozhikode on Friday. | Photo Credit: K Ragesh

A slight drizzle welcomed the participants of the three-day international white-water kayaking championship that began at Pulikkayam, near Kodenchery, in Kozhikode on Friday. However, the conditions were ideal as the quick-flowing Chalippuzha river offered a perfect backdrop for the event.

The championship, which has over 60 participants, was inaugurated by Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas in the evening.

The opening slalom round was flagged off by Thiruvambady MLA Linto Joseph in the morning. Native paddlers training in the rapids made the first splash to mark the grand opening of the eighth edition. 

The kayaking championship, held as part of the Malabar River festival, is back with a bang after two years of pandemic-induced pause. Professional and amateur paddlers rose to the occasion and put up a spectacular show in the rapids to mark the beginning.

Functionaries of the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society, who worked behind the festival with the support of the Kozhikode district panchayat and the District Tourism Promotion Council, said the pleasant weather drew in a large number of kayaking fans to the riverside to cheer the contestants.

Among the contestants from different States and countries, there were many who had won national and international titles. Though the number of international participants was less compared to that of the earlier editions, the rise in the number of inter-State and native paddlers was a positive change in promoting the sport.

Amit Thappa and Naina Adhikari, two prominent kayakers from Uttarakhand, said the white-water rapids offered them a new energy to demonstrate their skills and prepare better for more challenging events. “We have several medals to our credit participating in national and international events, but this place is unique for many reasons to hone our skills,” they said.

A paddler tries to safely cross one of the downstream gates in the Chalippuzha river while proceeding to the finishing point at the international white-water kayaking event in Kozhikode on Friday.

A paddler tries to safely cross one of the downstream gates in the Chalippuzha river while proceeding to the finishing point at the international white-water kayaking event in Kozhikode on Friday. | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Roopesh Shrestha, a paddler from Nepal, said he came to the spot for the first time after hearing a lot about the event for national and international kayakers. “I am excited to paddle through the upstream and downstream gates set on this beautiful river,” he said.

Coordinator Paulson Arakkal said the overall champions in the men and women categories would be crowned Rapid Raja and Rapid Rani respectively during the valedictory session on Sunday. “We successfully completed the slalom pro round on Friday and the next round in boater cross style that incorporates team play will be held on Saturday,” he added. 

One of the young contestants tries to emerge from the rapids after he lost control over the kayak during the international white-water kayaking championship at Pulikkayam, near Kodenchery, in Kozhikode district on Friday.

One of the young contestants tries to emerge from the rapids after he lost control over the kayak during the international white-water kayaking championship at Pulikkayam, near Kodenchery, in Kozhikode district on Friday. | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Winners

Amit Thappa of Uttarakhand and Shikha Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh bagged the first prize in the men’s and women’s categories respectively in the slalom pro event. Mr. Thappa is the winner of about 30 medals in various national and international white-water kayaking competitions. Nineteen-year-old Ms. Chauhan won the ‘Rapid Rani’ title in the last edition of the river festival. Hitesh Kewat of Madhya Pradesh and Jahanvi Shrivastava of Uttarakhand emerged first runners-up respectively in the men’s and women’s categories while Kuldip Singh and Naina Adhikari of Uttarakhand were the second runners-up.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2022 11:20:13 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ripples-of-excitement-back-at-pulikkayam-rapids/article65761895.ece