By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, April 11: After a four-year hiatus, Samarahan Regatta is back to make bigger waves along Sungai Tambirat, Asajaya, this July 12-14.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the eighth edition of the biennial event would see teams and paddlers competing in 11 categories involving 10 traditional boat events and a pumpski category.
The Samarahan Regatta, dubbed the second biggest regatta event in the Kuching and Samarahan divisions after the famous Sarawak Regatta, will take place at the waterfront of Kampung Tambirat.
The traditional boat races are the Men’s Balok 7-crew, Men’s Bidar 10-crew, Men’s 15-crew, Mixed 15-crew, Men’s 20-crew, Mixed 20-crew, VIP 20-crew, Inter-village Men’s 20-crew, Men’s 25-crew and the Raja Sungai (King of the River) Men’s 30-crew.
While the cash prizes have yet to be confirmed, Abdul Karim gave assurance that it would be bigger than before. He cited that the Raja Sungai champion could pocket as much as RM7,500.
“The Samarahan Regatta has always been one of the most anticipated events here, especially amongst boat racing fans. In fact, the regatta has always been very close to the hearts of Sarawakians considering its rich history.
“We anticipate big participation from all over Sarawak this time around as many would see the Samarahan Regatta as a prelude to the Sarawak Regatta,” he said at a press conference to announce the race at Baitulmakmur Complex here today.
Abdul Karim said entries would be opened from June 10 until July 4. Registration forms may be obtained from Asajaya District Office and Samarahan Resident’s Office.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to open flag off the regatta on July 13, while Head of State Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to close the event and present the prizes on the final day.
Abdul Karim, who is also Asajaya assemblyman, expected the three-day event to attract thousands of visitors following the completion of the Batang Samarahan and Batang Sadong bridges, which would cut travel time significantly for those coming from Kuching or the state’s central region.
“When the regatta was last held in 2015, it was estimated that the event attracted some 10,000 visitors throughout the three days. Now, with the completion of the bridges, I believe we can attract between 20,000 to 30,000 visitors.
“Furthermore, the lucrative prizes we have on offer this year could attract more participants from Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman and as far as Miri. This will make the regatta more competitive to raise interest among the people,” he added.
Apart from the boat races, Abdul Karim said visitors could also look forward to the sales of food and drinks, an exhibition by government agencies, as well as other sideline activities such as music performances and other entertainment programmes throughout the three days.
In terms of tourism and local socioeconomy, he said the regatta provided an opportunity for surrounding villages to showcase their products. This will support the growth of light and small industries in Samarahan. — DayakDaily