ALLEPPEY - A group of foreign nationals, participating in the 57th edition of ‘Nehru Trophy Boat Race’, took time off from their busy training schedule to hone their skills at singing ‘Vanchipattu’ or, the boat songs with local villagers here.
The team from United Arab Emirates (UAE) draws attention, as it comprises members belonging to different countries of the world.
Ahead of the race, this nine-member team of foreign women has been putting all their hard efforts in the backwaters of Kuttannad rowing heavy canoes hoping to register victory in this year’s event of August 8.
These women, working in UAE, hail from countries, like Britain, South Africa, Syria, and Australia, who have been training at Fitness First and out on the water at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi on Dragon Boats.
These women will be part of a 30-member team of Alleppey Ladies Boat Club to compete in the 750 meters water track at the banks of Lake Punamada.
All of them arrived in Kerala a week ago to get hands on practice under a senior most oarsman and singers.
The team is headed by Julie Lewis of Mountain High, a company which she founded in 2003 to promote and empower women through adventure activities.
Julie Lewis has been arriving for the boat race here along with women of different nationalities for four years to this serene backwaters of Kuttannad in Kerala’s Alleppey district to ‘break’ their muscles in rowing huge wooden canoes.
“All have done well in their practice but have to use painkillers and are eager to have an Ayurvedic massage to ease body pain,” said one of the women from Dubai. .
The race is one of the most popular and competitive boat races than 20 other such races in Kerala.
The most exciting competition in the boat race is the competition of snake boats or Chundanvallams, which usually requires more than 110 oarsmen and a few singers.
Hundreds of thousands of rupees are spent by each boat club for the month-long practice.
The Nehru Trophy boat race is held annually on second Saturday of August here. It is one of the best-known water carnivals of India. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)