KERALA

Kumarakom Boat Club wins Nehru trophy

ALAPPUZHA, AUG. 14. The Kumarakom Town Boat Club won the 52nd Nehru Trophy boat race held at the Punnamada Lake here this afternoon.

In the finals, the Kumarakom Town Boat Club, led by Raju Vadakkath, which rowed the Cheruthana snake boat, pushed the Nattakom Boat Club to the second place. The Nattakom Boat Club rowed the Vellamkulamgara snake boat.

In the finals that featured clubs from Kottayam alone, the Thiruvarppu Boat Club which rowed the Champakkulam snake boat finished third and the Kumarakom Boat Club which contested in the Jawahar Thayamkari snake boat came fourth.

The competition, allegedly marked by official mismanagement, began an hour late. It was pointed out that it was for the first time in the history of the boat race that there was such a delay in organising the race.

A section of the Congress leaders in the district said it was the visit of the Union Minister of State for Tourism, Renuka Choudhury, to a private resort here for lunch that had upset the schedule.

The Alappuzha DCC general secretary, Johnson Abraham, in a fax message to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, said the Minister had visited the private resort despite their opposition.

Other winners

In the losers' final that featured boats which finished second in the preliminary rounds, the Navajeevan Boat Club which rowed the Karichal snake boat finished first. The second prize went to the United Boat Club, Kainakary, which contested in the Valiya Divanji snake boat.

In the second losers' final that featured boats which finished third in the preliminary round, the Kandamkari Boat Club which rowed the Karuvatta snake boat finished first.

Altogether, 16 snake boats participated in the competition. Competitions were also held for categories such as `iruttukuthi' A-grade and B-grade and `odi' and `churulan'.

Ms. Choudhury, who inaugurated the boat race, said that the Centre would extend all help to promote tourism in the State. The Tourism Minister, P. Sankaran, presided. The Alappuzha MLA, K.C. Venugapal, presented memento to Ms. Choudhury. The Minister for Culture, G. Karthikeyan, released the souvenir.

The boat race was marred by clashes that were brought under control by the police.

The inaugural function was held at the partly constructed permanent pavilion at the finishing point.

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