Boat racing: to honour tradition, to promote tourism
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE participation of more youth in water sports events will focus attention on Brunei’s traditional boat races which will highlight the importance of Kampong Ayer as a national heritage.
And the growing popularity of water sports will attract more tourists looking for water games and activities.
Youth participants on the sidelines of the boat racing event in the capital yesterday shared that besides cultivating the spirit of teamwork and learning to operate jet skis, participation by the younger generation would also ensure the continuity of boat racing as a cultural heritage.
Among the racer who shared such view was Mohd Sharemmy Jony, a 21-year-old participant under the Belia Kg Sungai Bunga team, who had been actively participating in boat racing events since he was 17.
“The continuity of the traditional boat race as it is a culture we inherited from our predecessors, all the more when it is held in places such as here in the capital, it made the atmosphere more lively which will also attract more tourists to come and view the race,” said.
Mohd Shahremmy’s team participated in eight of ten categories of the race and amongst them, he found that competing against veteran paddlers was the most challenging but at the same time, very interesting.
This is because to the younger athletes, competing with veterans help them to earn more experience to develop the skills needed for future races, especially when they have to compete in international races.
As water sports especially boat racing is developing in the country, Mohd Shahremmy hoped the tradition could be continued with more participation from the local younger generation.
Md Aji Dzul Rahimi Hj Rahim, 24 and a jet ski racer under the Jet X Team, shared the opinion saying that aside from uplifting the status of water sports in the country, the youth could also share what they learn to attract more interest from their peers.
“This is actually my second time participating in such race. Some people think that riding jet skis is dangerous, but that is not actually the case because you actually need to know the proper techniques, and once you have learnt them, riding the jet ski could be enjoyable,” he said.
He said water sports including boat races could make the festive atmosphere of the country more entertaining especially when it is held in the capital, where traditional boat races would serve as an added value for tourists to enjoy their tour around Kg Ayer, one of Brunei’s famous cultural heritage.
Additionally, he also hoped that with more participation from younger people, the sports could be further developed to a higher level, making it possible for Brunei to participate in major boat racing events abroad.
The race manager from the Brunei-Muara Youth and Sports Department (JBS), Aznin Hj Tahir noted the lack of interest among the youth towards traditional water sports including the boat races, and therefore events such as competitions were organised to disseminate and attract their attention.
He said that this year, those who are between 15 to 35 years old were considered “youth” and thus eligible to join the boat race.
The Brunei Times