Horse Racing

Second edition of Champions Boat League from September 4

Event will conclude with President’s Trophy Race at Ashtamudi Lake on November 26

Event will conclude with President’s Trophy Race at Ashtamudi Lake on November 26

The second edition of the Champions Boat League (CBL) that features Kerala’s iconic snakeboats will be held from September 4 to November 26 in 12 venues across five districts in Kerala, Minister for Tourism P.A. Mohamed Riyas said at a curtain-raiser here on July 2.

The inaugural leg of the snakeboat races that are organised by Kerala Tourism will be held at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha, alongside the Nehru Trophy Boat Race on September 4. It will conclude with the President’s Trophy Race at Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam on November 26.

One for small boats

Besides, there will be a competition of small boats at the Chaliyar river in Kozhikode, said Mr. Riyas, who also unveiled the new jerseys of nine CBL teams. This is aimed at popularising snakeboat races in the Malabar region as well.

The CBL-2 races will be held as consecutive weekend events. Like its first edition in 2019, held on the lines of the Indian Premier League in cricket, there will be five races in Alappuzha district, two each in Kollam and Ernakulam districts and one each in Thrissur and Kottayam districts.


The venues in Alappuzha will be Pulinkunnu, Kainakary, Karuvatta, Pandanadu (Chengannur) and Kayamkulam, besides at the district headquarters. Piravom and Marine Drive in Ernakulam, Kollam town and Kallada, Thazhathangadi (in Kottayam) and Kottapuram (near Kodungalloor in Thrissur district) are the other venues.

Principal Secretary of Kerala Tourism K.S. Srinivas and the Director of Tourism P.B. Nooh too were present at the curtain-raiser. Mr Nooh said Kerala, which has over 600 km of coastline and 44 rivers, has immense potential to host more water-based events, especially since the daily life and regional festivals are closely linked with the waterbodies.

Prize money in 2019

The debut CBL edition, which was flagged off by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the presence of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in August 2019, featured nine teams and carried prize money of ₹5.86 crore. Tropical Titans (traditionally Pallathuruthy Boat Club) who scored 173 points was the winner and bagged ₹1.31 crore prize money, followed by Raging Rowers (Karichal) and Mighty Oars (NCDC Devas), who got ₹82 lakh and ₹69 lakh respectively.

A bit of history

Snakeboats are believed to be at least seven centuries old, starting with an order of Chembakassery principality’s 14th Century king Devanarayanan to design wooden vessels with its one prow rising in the shape of a reptile’s hood. The ruler won the battle in the sprawling backwaters, increasing the reputation to the 138-foot-long boats as multipurpose carriers. The looks of the boat made from wild jackfruit tree remain unchanged. CBL rules permit 80 to 100 rowers in the vessels, which can carry 150 persons. Though conceived as annual event, the CBL missed its 2020 and ’21 editions owing to COVID curbs.


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