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Sep 14, 2017

Canoeists to Circle Sarstoon Island for B.T.V. Eco-Challenge

September is a month of celebration for all Belizeans, as we commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye, as well as the annual observation of Belize’s independence.  The itinerary of activities has grown to include other events that are not officially listed on the celebrations calendar, but nonetheless enjoy their share of participants.  One such event is the Sarstoon Eco Challenge.  Organized by the Belize Territorial Volunteers, the annual canoe race attracts paddlers from across the country and they journey down to Barranco for the weekend.  On Saturday, dozens of participants are expected to converge on the birth place of musical icon Andy Palacio, the start and finish line for a tournament that will see paddlers encircle the controversial Sarstoon Island.  On Wednesday, News Five spoke with organizer Wil Maheia.

 

Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Organizer, Sarstoon Eco Challenge

“This weekend, Saturday, from the village of Barranco, Saturday, September sixteenth, that is this weekend, we’ll have the second annual Sarstoon Eco Challenge.  Last year was a really good year, we had our trials and errors and it was still very successful.  This year we’re adding a female category to it which should make it more exciting.  And the whole idea is to show our patriotism for our country of Belize and to stake claim to Sarstoon Island which, as you know, has been very controversial.  We will be having the female category that will go around the island and back to Barranco.  It’s like an all-day family affair, bring out the family.  It’s going to be an area, you know, an area where you can come and learn more about your country.  Barranco is the home of Andy Palacio.  You could see the whole Gulf of Honduras yet, you can see Guatemala from there.  So it’s going to be a festive event and, you know, we encourage people to come down.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What’s in it for the average participant, those who are going to be racing their canoes around the Sarstoon Island and back?  What are the prizes and what is the draw for someone to want to attend this competition?”

 

Wil Maheia

“Actually it’s very, very attractive because the total races averages around three hours.  The female part of the race will average a little over an hour and in the female category: first, second and third; first place gets seven hundred dollars, second place gets three hundred and third, fourth and fifth get a hundred each.  Then for the male category, the canoe race and when we say canoe it’s not necessarily the racing canoe, but a regular canoe.  First place gets one thousand dollars, second: five hundred, followed by three hundred and hundred and hundred.  And then for the kayaking category, it’s one thousand first place, five hundred second place and third place is three hundred and fourth and fifth is a hundred each.”

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