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India Paddle Festival: Local boys shine in Jr category; Spain duo steal the show in men’s, women’s category (ld)

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India Paddle Festival: Local boys shine in Jr category; Spain duo steal the show in men’s, women’s category (ld)

Mangalore, March 10 (Ajit Weekly News) Local lads claimed the top honours in the junior sprint (200m) category with Raju Pujar, Akash Pujar and Praveen topping the podium in the inaugural India Paddle Festival here on Sunday. The Indian juniors made a clean sweep of the podium in the junior sprint (200m) with Raju Pujar being crowned the winner, closely followed by Akash Pujar and Praveen in the second and third positions respectively.

On the final day of India’s first-ever International Stand-Up Paddling event, the India Paddle Festival came to a fitting closure with Fernando Perez from Spain walking away as the champion in the men’s open sprint race (200 M) category with a timing of 2 minutes 37 seconds on Sunday. Esperanza Barreras from Spain was crowned champion in the women’s open sprint race (200 M) with a timing of 2 minutes 55 seconds.

In the men’s category, Christian Andersen finished second with a timing of 2 minutes 53 seconds, while Hungary’s Daniel Hasyulo finished third with a timing of 2 minutes and 54 seconds.

Men’s Open Sprint Race champion, Fernando Perez, said, “It feels wonderful to win here today. This is my first trip to India and I’m pleasantly surprised by such favourable and challenging conditions at the same time. Mangalore is definitely somewhere I want to return in the feature and I’m confident with such wonderful infrastructure and natural mix of the ocean and the river, it’s not long before we start seeing Indian athletes making waves on international waters.”

The women’s category saw challenging conditions with rough waves to be braved through. Bianca Toncelli of Italy finished second with a timing of 3 minutes 38 seconds while Thailand’s Irin N finished third with a timing of 3 minutes 54 seconds.

Women’s Open Sprint Race champion, Esperanza Barreras, said, “The conditions were challenging but I am very happy to win in India, a country that I visited for the first time. The weather here is beautiful and I loved my time over here.

The juniors sprint category saw a clean sweep led by the Pujar brothers. While Raju Pujar finished as a champion with a timing of 4 minutes 35 seconds, his cousin Akash Pujar finished second with a timing of 5 minutes 35 seconds.

Akash’s brother, Praveen Pujar finished third with a timing of 5 minutes 39 seconds. All three boys have been receiving training under the Surfing Swami Foundation for over a year now.

The Junior Sprint Race champion, Raju Pujar, said, “It was an unexpected result but I am very happy with the results. I have been training under the Surfing Swami Foundation with Samanth sir. And I am happy that my hard work has started yielding results.”

The day began with the community race where amateurs’ recreational stand-up paddlers came together for a unique 3km race. This community race was also the first-ever such an initiative whether in an international or a national competition in India.

The race saw participation from over 15 recreational Stand-up paddlers and the ones from Tamil Nadu swept away with the top three positions. The first position was secured by Selvara San while Sujan J and Gokul Raj secured the second and the third positions respectively.

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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