Cambodia holds traditional boat race hinh anh 1Chumteav Srey Mao crew members return from a practice race in Meuntra village in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district (Photo: The Cambodia Daily)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodia’s traditional boat race opened in Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh on November 13 in the presence of King Norodom Sihamoni, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Senate President Sai Chhum and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Many representatives from the diplomatic corps and international organisations in Phnom Penh also joined tens of thousands of Cambodians at the event.

According to vice chairman of the race’s technical committee Bu Chum Sray, the race will take place until November 15 with the participation of 259 teams and 14,630 rowers. During the three-day race, boats decorated with light and colour lantern will be floated on the river at night and firework displays held.

An estimated 2 million visitors will watch the race this year, while around 10,000 police, security and military officers have been mobilised to keep order.

The traditional boat race used to be held every year, but it was suspended after the deadly trampling on a bridge that killed more than 350 people during the 2010 event. The race was only resumed in 2014, and followed by the event this year.-VNA