Representational Picture
Representational Picture

Alappuzha: "Nadubhagam Chundan", the snake-boat powered by the oarsmen of Pallathuruthi boat club on Saturday lifted the 67th edition of the iconic Nehru Trophy at the Punnamada Lake here.

In a nerve-biting race, the spirited oarsmen of Nadubhagam took their majestic snake-boat to the finishing point, leaving behind their fellow competitors 'Chambakkulam Chundan' and "Karichal Chundan" who came in the second and third positions respectively.

Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who was the chief guest in the event, took a ride in a boat through the scenic lake and cheered the competing teams and audience who gathered in huge numbers on both sides of the lake.

Extending his support to the flood-affected people, Tendulkar praised the spirit and resilience of Keralites who overcame the deluge.

"I know this is a different occasion...this is an occasion to not only celebrate, but also overcome all those challenges that happened some time ago...Kerala is back on its feet again," he said.

It was for the second time in the nearly seven decade long history of the annual boat race that Nadubhagam Chundan has won the prestigious trophy in the iconic race, which was postponed for the second consecutive year due to floods.

The spectacle, which used to be held on the second Saturday of the month of August every year, was postponed due to heavy rains and floods that hit the state early this month.

Authorities had to postpone the annual spectacle last year also following massive destruction caused by the deluge, the worst faced by the state in the last 100 years.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the first edition of the annual Champions Boat League (CBL), the country's first water-based sports league patterned on the popular IPL, along with the Nehru Trophy.

A large number of spectators, including foreign nationals, thronged the banks of the lake to get a glimpse of the event, considered one of the biggest water-sport events in the country.

The Nehru Trophy boat race was instituted to commemorate the visit of the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the area and his boat ride in the lake.

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