LAWAS: The Lawas Regatta this year is deemed the best since Pesta Lawas was launched, keeping spectators on their feet from start to finish as they witness the most thrilling races in history unfolding before their eyes.
The series of neck-to-neck battle along the 1.2km Lawas River provided spills and thrills which saw a totally-different level of competition and eye-brow raising speed of boats reaching the finishing line.
Kuala Lawas Putera team was again in the forerunners of different categories and team manager Awang Damit Ali Hasan said it was a combination of exposure to higher standard of the sports with infusion of Indonesian expertise, hard work in training and competitive spirit which is second to none.
“Locals are exposed to the higher level of competition and techniques which are different from what they are accustomed to, and the result is that there are many close races among the competing teams.”
The disparity of standard is evident between the front runners and the laggards who are many boat lengths behind.
The normal suspects, Putera, Citra Alti, Pusaka, Landas and Punang would be vying for the top finish in the finals in the afternoon, particularly King of Lawas River title and prize.
Damit said the spirit of competition was unique in Lawas where unity and closer rapport among competing teams remained intact after competitive races where an entire village would come to town to support their respective teams.
“You could hardly find anyone in the village during Lawas Regatta,” he said.
Regatta is still the main attraction but the economic spin-offs and publicity for Lawas with the influx of locals and visitors to town is welcomed by entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Second Minister of Resource and Planning Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan witnessed the signing of five Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) among co-operatives at the Pan Borneo Co-Op Expo held in conjunction with the Pesta Lawas.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais, Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum Agong, Limbang Resident Maria Hasman and Datuk Dayang Morliah Awang Daud.
He later visited the community stalls and Lawas Kitchen.
On Friday night, the Lawas Concert held at the central public park in town also drew a big crowd where the main attraction was rock star Awie who mesmerised the spectators with his new and old songs.
Adira AF, Wan Rul The Magic Puppet, Awie, cultural troupes from Labuan and Sarawak apart from the KPSU band also entertained the crowd.
Meanwhile, the organiser has lined up attractive prizes ranging from motorcycles to smartphones to visitors of the exhibition.