Alappuzha: The training sessions for the Nehru Trophy Boat race, which takes place on Saturday, November 10, have commenced even as the participating clubs are facing shortage of both cash and rowers. After a race reschedule forced by the devastating flood of August, the clubs find themselves running low on money, but are putting in a determined effort to win Kerala's most prestigious boat race.
Some clubs are yet to begin training, in spite of the warning that lesser days mean lesser bonus. As the money squeeze inhibits them, some plan to begin the training a few days ahead of the race. The cash crunch has forced some clubs to limit the training to once a day. Some clubs hope to get their training sponsored by local people.
Clubs that have hired rowers from outside the state are finding it harder. One of the top clubs is importing a 20-strong rowing team from the other end of India – Jammu Kashmir.
The problem is that they would need to fly in if they have to attend the training early enough. Ticket rates have gone up as the Diwali season arrived, but the clubs are sacrificing everything.
There are also clubs which have given up training as they can't afford air tickets for rowers who insisted on them. These clubs will field local rowers and be satisfied with them.
Some clubs also face poaching. Those who fail to provide money and food promptly risk losing rowers to other clubs.
One of the clubs even found it hard to get rowers, and an announcement had to be made at a place of worship seeking one rower from each house: “Please co-operate with the club by sending one rower from each house,” thus went the plea.