Legendary Kerala snake boat race returns to the UAE

The RAK Nehru Trophy-UAE race was last held in 2019


Nandini Sircar

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KT file photo
KT file photo

Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 3:47 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 3:53 PM

It’s time to witness the magnificence of Kerala at Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah on March 27, at the RAK Nehru Trophy-UAE.

The trophy was inspired by the late Jawaharlal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India in 1952.

By bringing this event for a second time to the Emirates, the organisers aim to further build on the thriving relationship between the UAE and Kerala.

Mohammed Ameen, CEO of The Brew Media, organiser of the event said, "Given that the country has now begun to have more offline events, we are working to ensure the event will abide by all the safety protocols. The trophy aims to showcase the vibrant culture of Kerala to the international stage.”

In partnership with RAK International Marine Sports Club as well as The Brew Media FZC LLC in support of the RAK Indian Association, the event will be held with the support of several Kerala organisations.

Major Arif Al Haranki, Managing Director, International Marine Sports Club, Ras Al Khaimah, said, “As part of our mission of tolerance and coexistence, this is our effort to promote harmony among different nationalities as well as embrace their cultural legacy.”

Meanwhile, participants highlighted they are thrilled to be a part of their culture’s biggest traditional event.

Team captain of Nanma Pravasi Kuttaima (UAE), Mujeeb Rahman says, “There are 20 paddlers, one steerer, and one drummer in each boat. Our boat’s name is Veeyapuram Chundan. These fibre boats are unlike the traditional wooden boats used in Kerala. They (the races) are held each year in and around Alleppey (Kerala).

"This year, we are looking forward to the big day here, and we've been practicing regularly for at least for two hours a day. Since members of our team are scattered across different emirates, we practice individually but I am sure we will be able to give a tough fight to others.”

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is one the premier snake boat races that take place in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It draws in a massive crowd, with people turning out in large numbers to watch boats, that are nearly 100 ft long, compete against each other to the tune of 'old boat songs' (playing in the background).

Last held in the UAE in 2019, before the pandemic, the organisers of RAK Nehru Trophy - UAE 2022 have increased the number of participating teams this year to eight.

Subin Kumar, whose team was the runners-up in the last edition, is the coach and a paddler from the Kerala Snake Boat Club (KSBC) –B.

Kumar says, “We are gearing up for the D-day with a lot of gusto. It’s going to be a difficult race this year, with teams being very professional. KSBC will be racing on two boats namely, Karichal and St. George. We were runners-up last time. We practice for long hours over the weekend. The day will also see a lot of side events for women and children.”

Gates will open at 3pm. Some of the activities that visitors can enjoy at the RAK Nehru Trophy - UAE 2022 include Kodiyettam, Ghoshayathra, Vallamkali, Chenda Fusion performance (Aattam Kalasamithi Kollannur and Chemmeen Band).

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