Kozhikode: World Kayaking Championship, which marked the first day of Malabar River Festival, kick-started despite heavy rains. International champions and Olympians lined up for the free style competition in the adventurous water sport event arranged at Meenthullipara in Chakkittapara on Wednesday. Intermediate kayaking competition will begin on Thursday at Pulikkayam near Kodencheri.

Dane Jackson who has won several world titles for America became the winner in the men’s category. Nick Troutman became second while Brenden Orton from the UK came third in the competition. Martina Wegman from Germany bagged the first prize in women’s category, Ann Bruno from USA became the second and Nouria Newman from France was at the third position.

35 people including men and women took part in the competition. Kodencheri kayaking academy stars Nisthul Jose and Pulloorampara native Nikhil Das were the participants from Kerala. Free style competition requires the kayakers to demonstrate their paddling skills in the waves within 45 seconds. There were three waves in the competition. The competitors could try two more times if they fail in the first wave. The winners were chosen based on the marks given by the judges.

Indian stars couldn’t perform well in the competition which included only the professional kayakers. All of them were eliminated in the first stage. The game consisted of 5 rounds, two in the qualifying level and semi and 3 in the final respectively. The event was arranged by district tourism promotion council with the cooperation from Thiruvambadi, Chakkittapara, and Kodencheri village panchayats.