Winning their fourth race in a row, reigning champions Tropical Titans pushed Mighty Oars to the second position at the Champions Boat League (CBL-2) amid equally strong challenge from Raging Rowers, who finished third in the eighth races at Thazhathangadi in this district today.
Only towards the last 20 metres of the finals did Tropical Titans (originally named Pallathuruthy Boat Club, on the famed ‘Mahadevikad Kattil Thekkethil’ snake-boat) manage to overtake their rivals, emerging victorious in the final where the picture kept altering, much to the thrill of the cheering crowds. The reigning champions clocked 3:15.09 minutes, just ahead of Mighty Oars (traditionally NCDC, Nadubhagam) who finished second in 3:16.16 minutes, followed by Raging Rowers (Kerala Police Boat Club, Champakulam) at 3:17.32.
The Thazhathangadi results popped up the same set of top three winners as did the Kainakary races in Alappuzha district last Saturday, but the final here was loaded with nail-biting moments. All three teams surged at the same pace in the first 100 metres, after which Mighty Oars began to take lead. But halfway down the track, Raging Rowers looked set to be the winners. This boosted Tropical Titans and Mighty Oars, who then began leading the race in a neck-and-neck competition. The last 20 metres saw the reigning champions rising to their true form and out-rowing their best rivals.
In the heats earlier here, Mighty Oars finished better than all the teams, indicating that Tropical Titans will have to take out their best in the final.
Eventually, Coast Dominators (UBC Kainakary) finished fourth at Thazhathangadi, just as they did in the previous races at Kainakary last Saturday. Pride Chasers (Vembanad Boat Club, Payippad) came fifth, followed by Backwater Knights (Village Boat Club, Devas) who ended sixth. Ripple Breakers (Punnamada Boat Club, Veeyapuram), who were fifth in last Saturday’s Kainakary races, slipped to seventh here, ahead of Backwater Warriors (Town Boat Club, St Pious Tenth). Finishing last (ninth) today were Thunder Oars (KBC-SFBC, Ayaparambu Pandi), whose best performance at CBL-2 so far was as second runner-up in Kochi’s Marine Drive on October 8.
The next round CBL-2 is slated at Pandanad near Chengannur in Alappuzha district on November 5. The final of the IPL-style nine-boat tournament by Kerala Tourism is at Kollam on November 26.
With the Thazhathangadi races, Tropical Titans (78 points) continue to stay on top of the overall tally. The reigning champions are followed by Mighty Oars (69) and Raging Rowers (60). Ripple Breakers are at the fourth with 54 points, and next are Pride Chasers (48). Coast Dominators (43) stand sixth, while Backwater Knights (28) come seventh, followed by Backwater Warriors (27) and Thunder Oars (25).
Minister for Water Resources Roshy Augustine inaugurated the Thazhathangadi races. Present at the function were Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, MLA, and members of civic bodies. District Superintendent of Police K. Karthik gave away the prizes.
Each participating team will get Rs 4 lakh in every league match. Besides, the winner 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.
The CBL-2 venues after next Saturday’s Pandanad are Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district (November 12) and Kallada in Kollam district (November 19) before the finals in Kollam.
The inaugurals of the league in Alappuzha on September 4 saw Tropical Titans winning the race as part of the 68th edition of the famed Nehru Trophy Boat Race on the sprawling Punnamada Lake, out-rowing Mighty Oars in a photo-finish. The November 26 finals at Kollam will coincide with the famed President’s Trophy.