KOCHI: Every year, the picturesque Punnamada Lake hosts an electrifying event, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. Hundreds of rowers from all over the state vie for the prestigious trophy as the whole of Kerala watch with bated breath. Though the incessant rain has caused the event to be postponed, the fervour hasn't gone down one bit for the participants who are busy preparing for the event. But, this year's race is special for Panambukad.
For, this village in the district is sending a 25-member team for the race. The Vivekananda Chandrika Boat Club of Panambukad is all set to create ripples on Punnamada Lake on their 'Mayil Vahanam odi vallom'.
Though they sent the boat to Alappuzha last Friday after a 30-day practice, it was brought back to Panambukad the next day after the event was postponed. The practice will resume from Monday.
"The whole village is elated to send the rowers to the famous boat race. Be it emotional or financial support, the people of Panambukad stood with us throughout the practice," said Sandeep K M, a member of the club. "It costs D2,000 per day for food alone. The rent and transportation were costly too. But, the well-wishers of Panambukad sponsored us," he said.
The team consists of people in the age group of 18 and 38. There are students, government employees, welding and loading workers. "We have been thinking of competing for a long time. Since we come from different fields, it wasn't easy to form a team. But, this year, we overcame all odds to pursue our dream," said Sandeep.
The club has been participating in different regional races for the last many years. "The challenge we faced during our initial days was the difficulty in handling 'nanp' (the type of oar used in snake boat race). We were using the oar for the first time. But, we are fully prepared now," Sandeep said. The team will be led by A G Vineeth, A G Ganesh Kumar and Balanand. They were trained by A K Gopinath and A S Uthaman, with 30 years of experience in rowing.