Alappuzha (Kerala) | 'Veeyapuram Chundan', rowed by the spirited oarsmen of the famed Pallathuruthi Boat Club, sailed to a thrilling victory to lift the 69th iconic Nehru Trophy at Punnamada Lake here on Saturday.
In a neck and neck race, the majestic 'Veeyapuram Chundan' (snake boat) touched the finishing line, leaving behind its fellow competitors Champakkulam Chundan, Nadubhagam Chundan, and Mahadevikkadu Kattil Thekkethil Chundan in the second, third, and fourth positions, respectively.
Amidst the cheers and thunderous applause by spectators who thronged both sides of the scenic lake, the oarsmen of Pallathuruthi Boat Club crossed the finishing point in 4.21 minutes and 22 seconds.
It was the fourth consecutive year that the Pallathuruthi Boat Club lifted the prestigious trophy.
The teams that secured runner-up positions lost the top spot by a difference of just a few seconds.
Hundreds of spectators, including foreigners, crowded the banks of the
lake to catch a glimpse of the thrilling race, considered to be one of the biggest water-sport events in the country.
Though Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was scheduled to inaugurate the annual event, which is held on the second Saturday of August every year, he was unable to attend it as his chopper could not land in Punnamada due to bad weather.
In his absence, Cultural Affairs Minister Saji Cheriyan inaugurated the event.
Later in a Facebook post, Vijayan congratulated all the participants, winners, and organisers of the Nehru Trophy boat race.
The spectacle has marked Kerala's position in front of the world, he said.
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.