ALAPPUZHA: The stage is all set at the Punnamada backwaters for the 66th edition of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) to be held on Saturday. As many as 81 boats including 25 snake boats will array in the placid waters of Vembanad to vie for the prestigious Nehru Trophy.
The arrangements were completed to host the mega event, which was earlier scheduled on the second Saturday of August but was postponed due to the massive flood.
Many VVIPs will reach the Nehru Pavilion to witness the event including South Indian actor Allu Arjun and his wife Sneha Reddy. The race will be inaugurated by Governor P Sathasivam. Members of Indian Super League team Kerala Blasters, Union Minister of State for Culture and Thomas Isaac, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman, Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and others will attend the event.
“We are going to organise the boat race by giving special consideration to women, children, senior citizens and differently abled. Special pavilions and arrangements have been made for them to enjoy the boat race. Besides, the entire event will be organised in an environment-friendly and socially acceptable manner,” said the organisers.
Sub-Collector and NTBR society secretary Krishan Teja said, for the first time transgender people will be part of a team serving as volunteers. At least 10 transgender people will be deployed to implement the green protocol, he said. Even as the competitive spirit has gripped the boat clubs and boat race buffs, several clubs participating in the race are facing a shortage of funds, following the deluge. Organisers said that the prize money of the event will be increased. A decision has also been taken to increase the maintenance grant and bonus by 10 per cent.
The preliminary rounds competitions of the small boats will begin at 11 am. The finals of small boats and all competitions of the snake boats will be held in the afternoon.The organisers have adopted the Olympics model tracking and timing system to avoid unnecessary delays. The system was approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations and used in several international athletics events. Organisers have successfully conducted a trial of the new photo finish system.
The new system will provide the results in minutes, seconds and microseconds. The cameras installed at the finishing point are capable of clicking 3,000 to 5,000 frames a second. This will help determine precisely the result of the race, the organisers said.