The first ever Mountain Terrain Biking (MTB) race of the Northeast India, also referred to as ‘Hornbill’s Flight’ concluded in Itanagar on Friday with the flag-in ceremony attended by Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu.
The 7-day race sponsored by Dalmia Bharat Cement, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Arunachal Pradesh tourism department was flagged-off from Mechuka on October 14. The race culminated on Friday after covering a distance of 730 kms with participation of 70 riders from India, Germany, Portugal, Nepal and Czech Republic.
Khandu congratulated all the riders on their successful completion of their race while giving away the award to the winners of the race events won under different categories.
Ilda Pereira of Portugal won the women’s open race while in the men’s category Mukesh Kumar of the Indian Army won the race with each taking away the prize money of Rs 1 lakh. Poonam Rana of Nepal was adjudged the most promising rider winning cash award of Rs 1 lakh.
Deputy chief minister Chowna Mein gave away the prize of ‘Best Indian Rider’ to Mukesh Kumar. Tourism parliamentary secretary gave away the award of ‘performing under adverse condition’ to Marcellina Sangma and Ramlal Rasailey with the former as cancer affected and the latter as para athlete.
Chief minister Khandu, in his speech, announced to hold the event next year in a more grand manner. He said Mechuka is poised to become number one tourist destination in Arunachal as it offers ample opportunity for adventure sports. He said road communications to Mechuka are being improved and apologised to the riders for any inconvenience for present poor state of the road.
Referring to tourism as the ‘engine of growth’, the chief minister said the state government is giving high priority to it. He informed that state tourism department this year has seen huge jump in its financial allocation, which was raised to Rs 100 crore from earlier Rs 16 crore within two financial years. He said Arunachal offers attractive destination in the field of tourism with the state being home to different tribes with its diverse culture, hospitable nature and peaceful atmosphere.