KUCHING: The haze-free weather is the likeliest factor that contributes to the increase of participants in this year’s annual Sarawak Regatta.
Opar assemblyman Ranum Mina recalled that the state capital was badly affected by terrible hazy conditions last year, resulting in many participants to pull out from the event due to health concerns.
“This year, we are blessed with a fine weather; which is why we can see around 800 participants taking part in 46 events in this year’s regatta. Last year, the number of participants was well below 800,” he told The Borneo Post at Kuching Waterfront yesterday.
Ranum also said the organisers were more prepared this time around, noting that they kept improving year after year.
Notably, he also mentioned about the shift in the running of the regatta to November, beginning this year. Prior to this, the event was usually held in September.
Ranum, who witnessed the inaugural Batang Kayan Regatta in Lundu in October, said there was a possibility that the Sarawak Regatta might add more categories into its lineup of races as a way to attract more international teams.
This, he opined, would make the annual event grow exponentially as one of the state’s premier tourism products.
This year, the regatta is themed ‘Race for Harmony’.
“I notice that this year, there is the ‘Kenyalang’ category for the local and international teams,” said Ranum, adding that such a category would give a more ‘Sarawakian flavour’ to the regatta, which was established during the James Brooke era in 1872.
The assemblyman also hoped that more international teams would converge on the state capital next year and make Sarawak Regatta a yearly experience for them.
This year’s regatta is expected to be officially launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem today, while Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to grace the closing ceremony tomorrow.