KUCHING: The Sarawak Regatta, which began at the Waterfront here yesterday, is merrier this year with a record 250 entries, including an all-women team from Dubai.
Organising chairman Abang Affandi Abang Anuar said the team was one of four international squads, with two others from Singapore and one from Brunei.
“The women, wives of expatriates working in Dubai, formed the team with the help of the Sarawak Tourism Board and the Urban Development and Tourism Ministry.
“They will compete in the 20-paddler longboat tourism category with the other international teams.
“They will not just compete against the men only, as the Singapore teams comprise both men and women,” he told reporters yesterday.
Abang Affandi said the competitors, while having fun, would help promote Sarawak as the regatta was an annual event on the state’s tourism calendar.
The tourism category race is slated for this afternoon.
Abang Affandi said the Sarawak Regatta was the culmination of other regattas held earlier in Lawas, Tanjung Manis, Sri Aman and Krian.
“Winning teams from these regattas have converged here to compete against one another,” he added.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who launched the regatta, described the event as “historical” as it was initiated 130 years ago by Rajah James Brooke to turn tribal rivalries into healthy sporting contests.
“Till today, the competitive spirit remains strong among the participants,” he said.
Taib later flagged off one of the heats of the men’s 20-paddler longboat event.
The regatta ends today, with finals in all the categories. The prestigious TYT Challenge Trophy is up for grabs in the 30-paddler longboat race.
Courtesy of The Star