PENANG: All is set for the three-day 26th Penang International Dragon Boat Festival (PIDBF) at the Teluk Bahang Dam here which begins today, even though the water level at the dam is quite low.
The dam is now 40% filled compared with previous years when the water level stood at 70%.
As a result, the organisers had to move the finish line about 200m back.
PIDBF executive secretary Chin Yin Fat said the old finish line was now on dry land because of the low water level this year.
He said the 1,000m open race had to be cancelled because of the low water level.
The 1,000m event was a special race introduced last year in conjunction with the festivals 25th anniversary and had proved popular, he said.
He assured spectators that despite the low water level, the races would still be exciting.
This year, 28 local teams and 15 foreign teams from seven countries Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Myanmar and the Philippines are competing.
The local teams will compete in 14 races.
Tomorrow, there will be heats, repechages (supplementary races allowing competitors who have already lost a heat another chance to qualify for the finals) and semi-finals for the international race.
The finals and prize-giving ceremony will be held on Sunday.
Besides the boat races, there will be a teh tarik competition tomorrow while on Sunday spectators can enjoy a childrens art contest, a kite flying demonstration and a dumpling making competition.