Malabar River Fest to conclude today, enjoys active participation of water sport enthusiasts

The oarsmen and women taking part in the race must be trained swimmers and should be aged between 18 and 55, the tournament rules say. Photo: Manorama

Kozhikode: The raging waters of the Chalipuzha and Iruvazhinji Rivers of the district witnessed some spectacular moves by water sports athletes in the past two days of the Malabar River Festival.

As their kayaks swiftly meandered between the rocks and other hurdles, the audience, who were watching with bated breaths, didn’t hesitate to shower encouragement and applauds quite lavishly.

Though the water levels and currents of the rivers occasionally challenged the events schedule and even worried kayakers and onlookers often, it didn't mar the excitement.

For instance, one of the categories named the 'Extreme Slalom pro-event' had to be shifted to Iruvazhinji River's Pulloorampara stretch, instead of the original venue, Chalipuzha's Pulikkayam stretch as the current levels weren't conducive. However, hundreds turned up to enjoy the event and even capture it on their devices, as kayakers braved through the narrow gaps between the raging river's boulders.

The winners of the ongoing ninth edition of the event this year would be taking a step closer to the next Olympic games. The events that are conducted in the Chalipuzha River and Iruvanjipuzha River is the first stage of the selection trial for the Olympics national team.

Meanwhile, the athletes who complete the second round of trials to be held in Bhopal would be selected to the Indian camp. The international kayaking championship is organised jointly by the tourism department, Kerala adventure tourism promotion society, district panchayat, district tourism promotion council and Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association. Radio Mango is the official media partner.

“The climate in Kodenchery and Pulikayam is perfect for white water kayaking. We hope that more international athletes would come here to participate in the event. The sports department too would be part of the organisers from next year onwards,” said Minister V Abdurahiman.

“This is a high-profile event that is being hosted at the high ranges in Kozhikode district. Meanwhile, a kayaking centre built by spending Rs 1.65 crore would soon be inaugurated at Pulikayam. Next year, we plan to build a bridge across the river at the starting point in Pulikayam and a permanent diving ramp too. However, we are yet to find the fund for that,” Thomas Chembakasery, Kodenchery panchayat president. The closing ceremony will be held at 4 pm on Sunday at Pulloorambara. 

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