Thousands of people flocked to the Mekong yesterday to cheer for their favourite boat crew on a day of fine weather with temperatures just topping 30C at the annual Vientiane Boat Racing Festival, with the races taking place from 8am until 4pm.
At the end of the day a crew from the Joint Development Bank (JDB) hoisted the trophy in the men’s traditional boat category, with the festival being the main event marking the end of Buddhist Lent.
Locals and visitors not only enjoyed watching the races on the final day of the festival, but also took the opportunity to browse the 432 booths that made up a bustling street fair, which ran from October 14-17.
The crew from LuangPrabang province who won the event in 2014 and 2015 could only manage third place this year after trailing behind second-placed Lao Toyota in the semifinals.
This year’s champions showed their strength from start to finish and were unbeaten from the first race onwards. They had an easy time of it against Lao Toyota, while the Thepsengmany crew from Thakhaek village in Vientiane’s Hadxaifong district took fourth place.
This year 25 boats contested the event, comprising 10 men’s traditional boat teams, seven women’s traditional boat teams and eight men’s modified or sport boat teams.
In the women’s traditional boat race, a crew from Saendin village in Vientiane’s Naxaithong district led Lao Toyota in the final race to become the new champions. A team from the host district of Chanthabouly finished third after beating their rivals from Hadkieng village in Xaythany district.
In the men’s modified or sport boat category, the Navapakaisith boat from Xaysathan village in Sisattanak district became the new champions after beating the Phone Prakeo boat from Sithan-tai village in Hadxaifong district.
Thepthidasoifa from Haisok village took third place while the Nangsaoyodkham boat from Chomchaeng village in Sisattanak district came in fourth.
The JDB crew received the coveted trophy, 20 million kip in prize money and a silver cup weighing 1kg. The second placed boat received a 750g silver cup and 15 million kip, while the crew finishing third was awarded 10 million kip and a 500g silver cup. The fourth placed boat received 6 million kip.
The winners of the women’s traditional and men’s modified boat events each received a silver cup weighing 1kg and 15 million kip in cash, while the second placed team took home a 750g silver cup and 10 million kip. The third placed team received a 500g silver cup and 8 million kip, while the team coming in fourth was awarded 4 million kip.
The Vientiane Boat Racing Festival is usually held close to Vat Chan Temple in Chanthabouly district, but last year the finishing line was relocated about 2km further north to Oub-moung village in Sikhottabong district because the low water level made the original course impossible. This year the end point was moved 200-300 metres downstream from last year’s location.
During celebrations to mark the end of Buddhist Lent several provinces including Huaphan, Xayaboury, Khammuan, Savannakhet and Champassak are holding boat racing festivals with some already having taken place.
Source: Vientiane Times