KUCHING: Thousands of people, locals and foreigners alike, thronged the Kuching Waterfront yesterday for the final day of the 10-day Sarawak Regatta 2017.
The highlight of the finals was the highly-anticipated crowning of this year’s ‘Raja Sungai’ (King of the River) – the honour of which went to Team Landas 11, earning them RM10,000.
The representatives of the Land and Survey Department were racing neck-to-neck with their rivals from Yayasan Sarawak, who placed second.
Landas 11 clocked seven minutes and 40 seconds – five seconds ahead of Yayasan Sarawak.Placing third was Team Landas 31, which recorded seven minutes and 54 seconds.
Another attraction at this year’s Sarawak Regatta – themed ‘Race for Harmony’ – was the newly-opened Darul Hana Bridge, spanning over Sarawak River – almost above the finishing line.
Spectators took the opportunity to take up spots along the pedestrian bridge to have a better view of the races.
The grand event yesterday was graced by Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, who was greeted by Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Datin Patinggi Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, and also Culture, Arts, Tourism, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Sultan Hassanal, Abang Johari, Awang Tengah, Abdul Karim and several other Sarawak ministers also took part in the special VVIP Race, where each of them led paddlers in the 1.5km challenge.
Sultan Hassanal emerged triumphant with a time of nine minutes and 26 seconds. Placing first runner-up was Taib’s team, while ‘Team Awang Tengah’ placed third.
Earlier, Sultan Hassanal together with Taib, Abang Johari and other dignitaries boarded ‘Sayang Sarawak’ – the catamaran that cruised past the Darul Hana Bridge and down Sarawak River towards the VVIP grandstand, which was near the starting line.
Sultan Hassanal and Taib presented the prizes to the top contenders of the ‘Raja Sungai’ showdown. Sarawak Regatta 2017 ran from Nov 10 to 19. It hosted 14 categories, offering prizes worth up to RM240,000.