Boat-race spirit scales further as Pulinkunnu readies for CBL 9th leg

Spreading the competitive spirit of the high-octane snake-boat races to another belt in Kuttanad region, the scenic Pulinkunnu will host this weekend the ninth round of the Champions Boat League (CBL) modelled on IPL cricket.

Tropical Titans have surged ahead of their nearest competitors by a fair margin in the points tally with the 12-round pioneering event two-thirds way through and packed with prize monies totalling Rs 5.9 crore, making CBL the country’s fourth highest-paid sports tournament. The leading team, owned by the Pallathuruthy Sports Club of this coastal district, has 113 points, ahead of Raging Rowers (55) and Mighty Oars (52). At fourth are Coast Dominators, with 49 points after the last round in Kainakary, also in Kuttanad.

That leg on October 26 saw Tropical Titans score a second hat-trick in the CBL being organised by Kerala Tourism. The team accomplished the feat at Kainakary, outsmarting local favourites Coast Dominators, who finished third, narrowly behind Raging Rowers.

Bouts of drizzle were a feature at the Kainakary round as well as the previous two legs in Kottappuram near Kodungallur of Thrissur district this month. It is another matter that wet weather conditions are largely part of Kerala’s boat-races, and have not dampened the enthusiasm of the nine snake-boats and the spectators.

The Pampa river at Pulinkunnu will function as the CBL track this Saturday.

“The CBL teams are nearing the end of the races. Each of them knows they can’t wait to put up an improved performance,” notes a top Kerala Tourism official. “From now on, the league will be all the more high on competition.”

Milliseconds have been increasingly becoming a distinctive feature of the CBL results, with cameras deciding winners after photo-finish races in several of the venues.

Any round’s topper secures Rs 5 lakh, while the first runner-up gets Rs 3 lakh and the second runner-up Rs 1 lakh. All participating teams are entitled to Rs 4 lakh per round. The overall CBL winner gets Rs 25 lakh, followed by Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for the second and third prize winners.

The post-Pulinkunnu schedule goes thus: November 9 (Kayamkulam, Alappuzha), November 16 (Kallada, Kollam district) and November 23 (Kollam, President’s Trophy Boat Race). Earlier this month, the CBL’s fifth was held in Kochi (Marine Drive, Ernakulam), after Piravom (September 28), Karuvatta (Sep 14), Thazhathangadi (Kottayam, Sep 7) and Alappuzha (Punnamada, Aug 31).

The races are being 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 live for an hour from 4 pm.

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