Upset win by Coast Dominators adds to the thrill of CBL Kochi leg

Cheered by a surging crowd of people from various parts of the globe, the fifth round of the Champions Boat League (CBL) in the tourist city of Kochi put brakes on Tropical Titans’ winning spree, with Coast Dominators emerging first in the last match held on October 5, 2019.

Tropical Titans, which had topped in all the four previous legs of the pioneering CBL, finished second here in the race where all three finalists rowed neck-and-neck from the starting point to the end, much to the thrill of the 83,000 spectators. At the end of the photo-finish, saw Raging Rowers declared third.

The three heats, too, by the shallow stretch of the Arabian Sea saw the nine snake-boats setting afire the 960-metre track along upscale Marine Drive. Coast Dominators (3:17.99) finished an inch or two ahead of Tropical Titans (3:18.16), while Raging Rowers clocked 3:18.41.

The fifth leg at the placid Ernakulam backwaters had its spirit no different from what the CBL teams displayed at the previous edition, rowing upstream along the Moovattpuzha river in semi-hilly Piravom, also of Ernakulam district. The trend of in high-suspense continued along the fringes of the Arabian Sea this evening, what with the first three teams decided within a range of mere 42 microseconds.

The Kochi round saw Tropical Titans timing the day’s best score at 3:12.14 to win the coveted ‘Nerolac Excel Fastest Team of the Day’ besides five extra points. At the end of CBL round-5, Tropical Titans continue atop the overall list with 68 points, followed by Coast Dominators (37 points) and Mighty Oars (34). Raging Rowers occupy the four position in the tables with 33 points.

The three-month CBL being organised by the Kerala Tourism began is slated to hold its finals on November 23 at down-state Kollam. The inaugural race was at Alappuzha on August 31. Today’s races were between the first Goshree Bridge and Marine Drive boat jetty.

Standing fifth down the overall table now is Pride Chasers with 26 points. Backwater Knights (19 points) stand sixth, followed by Backwater Warriors (16) and Thunder Oars (12). At the bottom stands Backwater Ninjas (12).

The September 28 CBL round-4 at Piravom, 30 km east of here, had Tropical Titans finish the day’s final, timing to become the victors. Mighty Oars and Raging Rovers were the second and third finishers, clocking 3:13.33 and 3:13.50 respectively.

The IGBR at Kochi also held a kayaking competition alongside the CBL-5, which had host a variety of entertainment activities like popular music by the famed Avial and a local band of college students, besides classical Bharatanatyam dance and the ritual performing art of Theyyam from upstate Malabar.

The day’s topper, secured Rs 5 lakh, followed by Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh for the second and third finishers. All participating teams are entitled to Rs 4 lakh per match.

The overall winner of the championships is entitled to Rs 25 lakh, followed by Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for the second and third prize winners.

The prizes were given away by Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George and film actor Tovino Thomas, whose presence invited thunderous cheer from the gathering. Among those present at the function was Kerala Tourism Director P Bala Kiran.

The races were inaugurated by Mrs Rani George.

Among the VIPs at the event were state Finance Minister Prof T M Thomas Isaac, Mayor Mrs Soumini Jain, Fort Kochi Sub Collector Snehil Kumar Singh and Cochin Port Trust Chairperson Mrs M Beena.

Just as the evening’s final got over, 200 volunteers of Tourism Professionals Club cleaned up the entire venue in a tacit message to avoid the use of plastic.

The races are being routinely broadcast live. Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Asianet Worldwide, Asianet Plus, Hotstar, ETV Andhra Pradesh and ETV Telangana will continue to beam the future CBL rounds on weekends for an hour from 4 pm.

The CBL (, billed as a game-changing initiative, seeks to professionalise Kerala’s largely scattered snake-boat races, while commercialising them without losing the conventional spirit.

Tickets can be booked online through ‘Book my Show’ platform, besides 20 outlets that facilitate spot purchase of tickets. The prices range from Rs 200 to 2,000.

The schedule goes thus after the October 5 stage: October 12 (Kottappuram, Thrissur district), October 19 (Ponnani, Malappuram), October 26 (Kainakari, Alappuzha), November 2 (Pulinkunnu, Alappuzha district), November 9 (Kayamkulam, Alappuzha), November 16 (Kallada, Kollam district) and November 23 (Kollam, President’s Trophy Boat Race).