Alappuzha, Aug 12 (PTI) Gabriel Chundan, the snake boat powered by oarsmen of Thuruthippuram Boat Club, today won the 65th edition of the prestigious Nehru Trophy held at the Punnamda Lake here.

The oarsmen of ‘Gabriel Chundan’ lifted the trophy after a thrilling photo finish this evening.

The members of the Ernakulam-based boat club dipped their oars in unison, leading the majestic ‘chundan’ (snake boat) to the finishing point, pushing fellow competitors behind.

While ‘Mahadevikkad Kattilthekkethil’ came second, ‘Payippad’ and ‘Karichal’, last year s winner, secured the third and fourth spots respectively as thousands of spectators gathered on the banks to cheer them, organisers said.

Around 20 snake boats, known as ‘chundan vallam’ in local parlance, took part in five heats in the event, which is held on the second Saturday of August every year.

A large number of spectators including foreigners thronged the banks of the lake to get a glimpse of the event, which is considered as one of the biggest water-sport events in the country.

The Nehru trophy was instituted to commemorate the visit of the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the area and his boat ride in the lake.

Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the boat race.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.