| Hakim Hayat |
BRUNEI’S oil-town Kuala Belait yesterday sprang to life as it played host to several events lined up to coincide with the Belait River Carnival, with the highlight being a regatta and boat race involving hundreds of paddlers from across all four districts of the country.
A strong 20-men team from Generasi Anak Muda Kampong Tamoi (GAMTA) emerged victorious in three main race categories, battling it out with other teams in the presence of hundreds of spectators who had showed up at the newly-built Cendera Kenangan Recreation Park, which overlooks the scenic Belait River, to catch the exciting races.
GAMTA bagged top spots in the 20 Paddlers Open; 20 Paddlers for Mukims Open and 20 Paddlers for District Officers’ Open categories. A total of 12 categories were opened including that for powerboats and jet-skis.
Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman awarded the prizes to the winning teams.
Also present to hand out prizes was Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, whose team emerged as victor in the 20 Paddlers Ministries category.
Meanwhile, in the 1.8-litre supercharged jet-ski runabout open race, Christopher Keasberry took first place. In the 1.2cc runabout race, Hj Idjam Norhadi bin Hj Mashud emerged in top place.
Speaking to the Bulletin, GAMTA team coach Ariffin Hj Zainal noted that the entire team was elated to grab the winning title in three categories despite the “very fierce competition from other teams.”
Citing proper strategising as being crucial in increasing the capabilities and strength of his team, he added, “We are also constantly training and our team demonstrates good performance, ability as well as good physical and mental resilience. This is the team spirit we have at GAMTA. We hope to improve in terms of skills and effective techniques in the future so as to overcome fierce competition – whether locally or internationally.”
The Belait River Carnival was jointly organised by the Belait District Office and National Boat Race Association (PERKEBAR), with side activities arranged to keep attendees engaged. This included a bazaar, colouring competition, 4WD showcase and Cultural Night Show.
The organisers said the event intended to serve as a platform to prepare Belait District boat racing teams for national level events, particularly the annual Regatta Brunei Darussalam.
“We are also giving opportunity to boat racing and jet-ski enthusiasts in the country, as well as in entertaining the community and tourists especially for the holiday month.”