Nine foreign women to compete in Kerala’s snake boat race


Alappuzha (Kerala) : A 30-member team of women including nine foreigners will compete in the 57th edition of the famous snake boat race at the Punnamada lake here Saturday.

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The team will be led by Julie Louis, a Briton, who is going to take part in the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race for the fourth successive time. The other team members include women from South Africa, Syria, Australia and Britain. One member of the crew is a woman from Kerala who now lives in Dubai. The rest are from the famous backwaters of Kerala.

“In 2006 and 2007 we won the race but last time we did not and hence this time we are determined to win,” said a confident Louis.

The team has already had a round of practice on the boat named Dewas which is owned by the Vembanad Boat Club and will have a few more practice sessions before the finals.

The Nehru Trophy Boat Race commemorates former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to the state in 1952 when a pageantry of boats accompanied him on his trip from Kottayam to Alappuzha.

The first race was conducted impromptu at that time in his honour. Nehru, thrilled by the performance of the rowers, jumped into a snake boat disregarding security arrangements and protocol. The boat proceeded to the jetty with him on board.

On returning to Delhi, Nehru donated a silver trophy to the rowers. It is a replica of a snake boat placed on a wooden abacus, with an inscription and his signature.