Champions Boat League Set to Rejuvenate Kerala Tourism

Champions' Boat League in Kerala
Kerala is all set for Champions' Boat League from August to November 2019.
Champions' Boat League in Kerala
Kerala is all set for Champions’ Boat League from August to November 2019.

Sports are getting commercialised in India, because India is a big market capable of generating massive revenue. Many professional leagues are being started and developed in India. Among them, cricket related Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most popular. Players from other countries come here and play leagues with different teams. So, it’s a good platform for budding Indian players to get groomed under the shadow of best talents in the world.

Such leagues have enticed new generations of sports fans. Apart from media, Bollywood stars, industrialists and other celebrities also participate with utmost interest to promote and glamourise these leagues. Time has now come to boost regional sports, which are saturated in particular regions.

Promotion of Regional Sports

Vallam kali, the traditional boat race in Kerala, is generally held during the time of Onam, the harvest festival. But Kerala government is adamant to boost its popularity. Accordingly, it has proposed to organise an IPL style boat competition in the state. Its name would be Champions Boat League (CBL), which will be underway from August 10, 2019, with the prestigious Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha.

State government wants to make CBL a hugely popular regional water sport to attract tourists and generate revenue. Officials believe that this race will be the ideal launching pad to create an international sporting atmosphere for participating clubs and their oarsmen. It is an encouraging sign to promote the traditional vallam kali (snake boat races) into a world class sporting event. A Special Purpose Vehicle is to be set up to conduct the league smoothly.

Historical Facts

The snake boats are originally known as ‘chundan vallam’. As per the old tradition, a king from Alappuzha lost a fierce battle at the hands of his rival over four centuries ago. The king then decided to strengthen his naval prowess to teach his rivals a lesson. Since then, ‘chundan vallam’ or the snake boat of Kerala came into force.

The delicate design of the boat further developed during the period of King Devanarayana of Chembakassery. Such boats were used to monitor enemy activity. Since then, these boats are playing a major role in the lives of the people of Kerala. ‘Chundan vallams’ are 100 to 120 feet long boats that carry people and war equipment. Wood of ‘Anjili Thadi is used for making such boats, as it strong and can carry heavy weights.

Government’s Plan

The Kerala government is planning to spend Rs 40 crores on the boat race (CBL). It is expected that Rs 20 crores revenue will be generated through ticket sales and sponsorships. The winning team will be awarded Rs 25 lakhs. Runners-up will claim Rs 15 lakhs, while the third-placed will be richer by Rs 10 lakhs. Tickets will be priced from Rs 100 to Rs 3000.

The Kerala state government is confident that this event has huge potential. It is expected to become a Rs 150 crore event in the next five years, with live telecast and sponsorship rights.

Champions Boat League will be a multi boat race event, commencing from August 10 this year with the Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha, and ending with the President Trophy Boat Race on November 1 at Kollam. Overall nine teams will compete for one trophy, and 12 races will be held during this mega event. Timing would be between 2.30 pm to 5 pm.

It is a positive move by the Kerala government to promote regional sports and encourage people to know the value of their tradition. Other state governments will hopefully do the same and encourage their own traditional sports and cultures. This would also inspire unity and brotherhood among the people.

Related Link:

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