KUCHING – The Sarawak Regatta will continue to become a major event to promote the state as one of the world’s tourist destination, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said.
He said the annual regatta, which was first introduced in 1872 during the Rajah Brooke era, would continue to be held to preserve and promote the uniqueness of the Sarawak’s culture.
“It will surely become major attraction for tourists in Sarawak, especially for those who are looking for the preserved culture and uniqueness while enjoying the phenomenal views of the Sarawak River,” he said when opening the Sarawak Regatta 2014 at the Kuching Waterfront here today.
Adenan said all the state’s uniqueness, specialties and diversified culture and heritage showcased during the regatta were able to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Kuching each year, besides turning the state’s capital as the meeting point for the locals.
“It also helps promote the cultures of the various ethnicities in Sarawak, hence strengthening the spirit of unity, tolerance and goodwill among the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, State Housing and Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the regatta was now the second biggest attraction for Sarawak after that of the Rainforest World Music Festival.
He said the fact that the regatta was introduced over 100 years ago made it unique and rich in historic value.
“The main attraction will be the race for the coveted ‘King of the River’ title tomorrow,” he said.
He said, on the sidelines, there would also be an exhibition of handicrafts, food and traditional performance to introduce and promote the various ethnicities in Sarawak to the visitors.
The regatta, which began today, saw the participation of 20 local and foreign teams, namely the Dragon Hunters of Newscastle from Australia, Canadian Dragons of Canada, Hong Kong Freedom of Hong Kong, University of Macau, Brunei Darussalam, Ministry of National Development of Singapore, Polytechnic of Singapore, Filipino Dragons from Philippine, De La Salle University Dragon Boat Team from Philippine, Bugsay Boracay from Philippine, Nonthaburi Municipality of Thailand, Chinese Taipei and PODSI from Indonesia.
The six Malaysian teams were Sabah Tanjung Papat from Sandakan, Pink Challengers from Putrajaya, Penang Municipal Park Rowing Club of Penang, JB Speed of Kedah, Federation of Kuching and Samarahan Divisions Chinese Associations and North Kuching City Hall.
Also held today was the Brooke Swim competition, which saw former national swimmer Teo Ah Hwa emerged as the champion, while defending champion Ho Chai Hee took second place and Azahari Azman, third.
Over 10,000 people flocked the Kuching Waterfront since 8 am today to watch the opening of the regatta.Â – BERNAMA