THERE was an air of festivity at the Penang Water Sports Recreational Centre in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, when more than 200 people turned up to celebrate its open day recently.
Among the activities held were beach volleyball games, dragon boat racing, canoeing, optimist sailing and musical stunt kite flying, a new type of sport that caught many people by surprise.
Kite Enthusiasts Penang (Keop) secretary Azemi Arif-fin was in his element, enthralling the crowd with his skilful manoeuvring.
Many looked on in dis-belief when the kite swooped, dived, hovered and reversed its path in mid air.
The movements were so precise that some were even fooled into believing Azemi was using remote control to fly his kite.
Other interesting events included the performance of the seasoned dragon boat team Pacific West, one of the medallists during the 26th Penang International Dragon Boat Festival.
The rowers flexed their muscles to show why they are one of the top local dragon boat teams.
Optimist sailor Muhd Has-bullah Ismail, the Penang Schools (MSSPP) Sportsboy of the Year 2004, also impressed the crowd with his sailing skills. Another group of sailors practised canoeing techni-ques on the sea.
Over on the shore, many were playing beach volleyball.
The centre’s chairman Lye Siew Weng, who is also Air Putih assemblyman, said the open day was aimed at promoting the centre as a destination for water sports enthusiasts and getting tourists to use its facilities.
“With the assistance of the state government, we hope to obtain RM500,000 from sponsors.
“The money will be used to build a 15-bed dormitory and a double-storey building which will double up as a chalet and for storing boats,” said Lye in his opening speech.
An appreciation plaque was erected outside the centre in recognition of the Swatch Group Malaysia for its earlier contribution of RM500,000 to the centre.
The money was spent on purchasing new dragon boats and canoes to replace the ones that were damaged or swept away during the tsunami last year and also for repairing the centre’s fencing and outdoor toilets.