Sachin Tendulkar, who was present at the event, praised the people of Kerala for their spirit and resilience in overcoming the challenges thrown by the floods.

Kerala overcame challenges because of peoples spirit Sachin at Champions Boat LeagueSachin Tendulkar and Minister Thomas Isaac at the boat race
news Boat race Sunday, September 01, 2019 - 17:52

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar praised the people of Kerala for their resilience, referring to the second round of rains and floods that caused so much devastation in the state. He was speaking at the inauguration of the Champions Boat League (CBL), designed along the lines of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, by the Tourism Department.

The annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race held on Saturday at Punnamada Lake, Alappuzha, became the first race of the CBL, following the flag-off by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

“My prayers and thoughts go out to all the families who lost their loved ones, their dear ones (during the flood). I know this is a different occasion, a happy occasion, an occasion to celebrate. But overcoming all those challenges that happened some time ago could not have happened without the spirit and resilience of Keralites. Kerala is back on its feet again and I can tell you from whatever I have experienced – I have played cricket here – the kind of support and passion. I know even for the CBL, Kerala is extremely passionate about it and those are the things that allow you to get back on your feet so fast. I would like to applaud the organisers and all the committee members for putting together this event in just 20 days,” Sachin said.

The Nehru Boat Race, in its 67th edition, was won by the Pallathurth Boat Club, also known as Nadubhagam. The Chembakulam team won second place while the Karichal team came third.

Thousands of people witnessed the enchanting boat race in which nine snake-boats took part. The CBL features 12 rounds of races slated at various other places till November 23.

Pinarayi Vijayan hailed the pioneering boat league as an event that reinforces the spirit of unity among the people. “True, you compete with each other with your boats. But at the end of the day, it is all about harmonious relationship between us human beings,” the CM said.

The top CBL winner of every leg is entitled to a Rs 5 lakh prize, followed by Rs 3 lakh for the second place winner and Rs 1 lakh for the third place. While all participants are entitled to a bonus prize of Rs 4 lakh per match, the three-month-long boat league has prize monies totalling Rs 5.9 crore, ranking CBL as India’s fourth-highest paid across all sports.

Read: The famous Nehru Trophy boat race and how it supports the economy of Alappuzha district

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