Mighty Oars emerged the upset winner at the second race of the Champions Boat League (CBL-2), edging past reigning champions Tropical Titans by six microseconds at Karuvatta, setting prospects of a stiff competition at the IPL-style event which has ten more weekly races to go.
Tropical Titans (traditionally Pallathuruthi Boat Club), who had a fortnight ago topped the opening race of CBL-2 in Alappuzha, could clock today 4:07.31 minutes in the finals as against 4:07.25 by Mighty Oars (NCDC, Nadubhagom) along the 1.25-km track along the Leading Channel, 25 km south of this coastal Kerala city.
Ripple Breakers (Punnamada Boat Club, Veeyapuram) finished third (4:08.82) along the scenic track, locally called Puthana river.
In fact, Mighty Oars, earlier in the evening, gave a strong hint at their comeback in the nine-team CBL-2 races being organized by Kerala Tourism as part of post-monsoon Onam-time state festivities. At the heats of the snake-boat race, coinciding with the conventional Karuvatta vallamkali, Mighty Oars finished with a record 4:04.65 minutes, warranting best efforts from the usually indomitable Tropical Titans.
CBL-2 had its opening leg held as part of the 68th edition of the famed Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) a fortnight ago (September 4) on the sprawling Punnamada Lake at Alappuzha.
As two of the 12 rounds of races are over, Tropical Titans and Mighty Oars top the list with 19 points each, followed by Ripple Breakers at 16. When two teams among the three toppers share the same number of points, the fourth place will remain unaccounted, by CBL norms.
The next round CBL-2 is slated at Pulinkunnu in this district on September 24.
In the tally now, after Ripple Breakers, is Raging Rowers (Kerala Police Boat Club, Champakulam – 14 points) at fourth place, while Pride Chasers (Vembanad Boat Club, Payippad and Coast Dominators (UBC Kainakary, Karichal) with 11 points each share the fifth place. Backwater Warriors (Town Boat Club, St Pious Tenth – 8 points), Thunder Oars (KBC-SFBC, Ayaparambu Pandi (6 points) and Backwater Knights (Village Boat Club, Devas – 4 point) occupy the seventh, eighth and ninth positions respectively.
Each participating team will get Rs 4 lakh. The CBL-2 winners will get an additional Rs 5 lakh, followed by Rs 3 lakh for the runner-up and Rs 1 lakh for the second runner-up.
Today’s boat race was inaugurated by Agriculture Minister P. Prasad. The prizes were given away by A.M. Ariff, MP.
The CBL races, after next Saturday’s at Pulinkunnu, will be at Piravom (Ernakulam district) on October 1, Marine Drive, Kochi (October 8), Kottappuram near Kodungallur (October 15), Kainakary in Alappuzha (October 22), Thazhathangadi near Kottayam (October 29), Pandanad near Chengannur (November 5), Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district (November 12) and Kallada in Kollam district (November 19) before the finals at President’s Trophy in Kollam (November 26).
CBL-2 was inaugurated at Alappuzha’s sprawling Punnamada Lake on September 4 by Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal.