Kids make a splash at Singapore Canoe Marathon for first time

A record 700 competitors took to the waters off the Sports Hub in Kallang on Sunday morning for the 2016 Singapore Canoe Marathon.
A record 700 competitors took to the waters off the Sports Hub in Kallang on Sunday morning for the 2016 Singapore Canoe Marathon. PHOTO: TWITTER

A record 700 competitors took to the waters off the Sports Hub in Kallang on Sunday morning for the 2016 Singapore Canoe Marathon.

From the age of seven to 60, participants paddled under clear skies and across iconic landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer for distances of between 4km and 28km.

In its 14th edition, the annual event featured a children's category for the first time, with 42 participants from the Kid-in-a-Kayak programme.

The initiative, which holds training sessions on weekends at MacRitchie Reservoir for children under the age of 12, aims to engage more youngsters in the art of paddle sports.

Henry Park Primary School student Matthew Ng came out tops for the boys, while Singapore Chinese Girls’ School’s Tan Lee-Ann, both 11, was first among the girls.

Also in action were 40 paracanoeists who have benefited from free weekly training under the Singapore Canoe Federation's (SCF) paracanoe development programme.

SCF vice-president Francis Ng said: "We are pleased to see such a diverse turnout this year, which shows how the sport is continuing to grow.

"One is never too young or too old to enter a canoe; it's a fun, healthy and engaging sport for the whole family."

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu joined in the fun, paddling in a Junior K4 canoe with SEA Games gold medallists Stephenie Chen, Suzanne Seah and Sarah Chen.

Senior Minister of State (Home Affairs and National Development) and SCF adviser Desmond Lee flagged off the main races before having a go himself in a Paracanoe K1.