INTRODUCTION: In Thailand, thousands of people have been gathering to witness one of the country's most colourful traditions: boat racing on the Chao Phraya river.
SV PULL BACK LV PAN Boat on river
LV Crowds on bank
CU Boat being decorated with ribbons
CU Prayers on boat
LV & CU Crew praying on bank (2 shots)
LV & CU Monks watch as crew in boat sprinkled with holy water (2 shots)
CU PULL BACK LV & PAN Two boats proceeding to start
LV Crowd on bank
SV PULL BACK LV PAN Starter fires gun and two boats start in one of the heats
LV PAN Final race with boat furthest from camera winning by a length
GV Boats on river with aircraft flying over
SPORT: BOAT RACING
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Thailand, thousands of people have been gathering to witness one of the country's most colourful traditions: boat racing on the Chao Phraya river. Teams from eight of Thailand's provinces were entered in the race.
SYNOPSIS: These are the famous Thai long boats -- crewed by up to 60 men. Months of preparation and hours of hard training precede each race. Victory brings honour throughout Thailand to the victors and their boat -- and a cash prize of 50,000 bart (2200 U.S. dollars).
The boats are derived from ancient barges used in earlier fays to transport members of the Thai royal family along the 356-kilometre Chao Phraya River that runs through Thailand. These days royalty goes by air, and their barges have been transformed into major tests of sporting skill for Thailand's young men.
Before the race, the boats are blessed. Buddhism has a powerful hold on Thailand. Most young men become monks, even if only for few weeks. In sport, as elsewhere, the temple makes its presence felt.
Soon the race is due to begin, and the crews make their way to the starting line. The temperature is more than 38 degrees Centigrade (100 degrees Fahrenheit), but the men are undeterred. They hope to bring honour to themselves and to the provinces they represent -- and are determined not to be put off by a little hot weather. Tension grips both rowers and watchers alike.
The first race is a heat.
Now the pressure is on. Rowers from both sides dig deep in to gain paddles flash in the sun as the boats surge through the water.
After the heats, the final. This is what the months of preparation have all been loading to. It is a hard struggle over a 500 metre course, and the rowers make one last, big effort.....
Winning by a length was the boat Dao Sian. It was a performance which lived up to the traditional standards of long-boat racing.