PEKAN, 8 September – The Pahang state government intends to organize an international canoe race – the Pahang Ocean Paddle International Challenge (POPIC) which will be held for the first time this year as an annual sporting event in the state.

State Tourism, Culture, Environment, Plantation and Commodity Exco, Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said that the organization of the world-class championship can indirectly boost sports tourism activities in Pahang.

“God willing, if we receive positive feedback from this year’s POPIC, we will make this international canoe race an annual event as the new signature of the state of Pahang.

“We have 240 kilometers of beaches in Pahang. So we want to introduce our beaches such as Pantai Hiburan in Rompin, Pantai Legenda in Pekan in addition to Pantai Balok, Pantai Cherating and Pantai Teluk Cempedak in Kuantan to the local community and foreign tourists.

“That is why we chose the attractive and clean beaches for them to come to the state of Pahang in addition to catch a sight of this international canoe race, thus being able to promote Pahang to the world,” he said in a press conference at Pantai Lagenda on Thursday.

Before that, Mohd Sharkar representing the Chief Minister of Pahang, Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail officiated the POPIC 2022 and presented medals to the winners of Stage 2 of the tournament which attracted the participation of approximately 240 participants from home and abroad.

“The state government is proud to be able to organize this international canoe race for the first time, which I understand has foreign participants from several countries such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

“In fact, with the presence of visitors including from abroad, we are expected to be able to generate income of RM3 million to RM4 million for organizing this race. It is a good thing even though this race is only held for the first time in Pahang.

“We have to take a bold step by making the canoe industry (sports organization) a signature in Pahang. Once established, this tournament can be well known like (the world’s premier cycling race) Tour de France one day,” he explained.

POPIC 2022 which offers a total prize money of RM300,000 competes in seven categories – men’s and women’s international SS; men’s TK1 national: men’s and women’s TK2 national and men’s and women’s inter varsity.

Stage 1 was held at Pantai Hiburan followed by Stage 2 at Pantai Legenda; Stage 3 at Pantai Balok, Kuantan; Stage 4 at Pantai Cherating, Kuantan and Stage 5 at Pantai Teluk Cempedak, Kuantan.