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15 May 05
Adventure race at Pulau Ubin attracts 48 teams
By Patwant Singh, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Adventure sports are picking up steam in Singapore.
In 2004, the city hosted the Actions Asia Challenge, an international race which was telecast around the world.
Now, the Wilderness Adventure Race 2005 has attracted 48 teams, more than organisers had planned for.
The action started at the Pasir Ris Community Club with an early flag-off. After a short run to the beach, participants had to get into kayaks and paddle 3 kilometres to Pulau Ubin, where most of the hard work began.
On the island, the obstacles included running through forests, and the more familiar rock climbing, even ascending a 15-metre tower with ropes in a move called "jummaring". But the highlight of the race was plunging into the water from the peak of a six-storey high quarry. While the view was breathtaking, the participants had no time to enjoy it, as they had to kayak back to the mainland, before cycling to the finish line back at the Pasir Ris CC.
Coming out tops in the men's category were Robert Greg Shand and Wilson Low, who were partnering for the first time. Said Mr Low, "I know from the past Action Asia race that Greg has come in overall third, so I knew when I was teaming up with him, I knew I was going to be pushed hard." Mr Shand added, "The kayak session in the hot sun was quite testing in the end, so it was a bit longer in the end than we thought it would be, but we are very happy to come first."
Organisers say there were hiccups and delays along the route that they need to iron out. Already, they have big plans for the next race, including doubling the participation rate, and hosting the event for at least another few more years.
Organiser Delane Lim said, "Most of the adventure racing is fully signed up; even though the race is just announced one month ago, the sign-up will be full. There is demand -- that is the reason why the Sports Council would want to support organisations that want to support adventure racing."
With the growing enthusiasm, the organiser is also looking into setting up a national association for the sport. - CNA /ct
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