The normally calm weekend in Palau transformed into days filled with activities and enthusiasm as over a thousand participants and spectators gathered to join and watch this year’s Konqer Palau that was staged by Konqer Sports and the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) on October 6 and 7.
Palau’s Konqer 2018 was divided in two events called the K8 dubbed as the “Escape From Airai” and the K9 dubbed as the “Chaos in Koror.”
K8, which was held in Airai State on October 6, was participated by 41 individuals who braved the challenging ocean waters in the rock islands by swimming their way to the floating kayaks that were stationed a distance away from where they were asked to jump off their respective boats. The participants were asked to re-live the role of the Yapese who journeyed to Palau in the past just to mine stone money. The course was intended to fictionally recreate the fate of the Yapese stone money miners.
The jumping off the boat and swimming to the kayaks represented how the Yapese found their way out of the boat that capsized when they were faced with the storm and sought relief by clinging on to any floating debris. Once getting a hold of their Kayaks, participants then paddled another distance on their way to a rock island where they were yet to face another challenging trail.
On the next point, participants entered a jungle where a certain vegetation dubbed as a “poison tree” is said to be growing. Participants were warned of such tree and were asked to watch where they put their hands.
There were uphill climbs, including elevations that almost look like walls. At a certain point, participants passed through a sole, huge Yapese stone money that was left lying on a grassy ground of the rock island. They also carried bags of sand and transport them to a point near a dock where they were yet again to begin another miles of kayaking.
After completing the second kayaking course, participants again trod through another rock island. On this second jungle trail, the going only got tougher as they were each asked to carry a fresh egg and keep it intact until they reach the finish line in Ngellil Nature Island resort.
The K9, which was held on Long Island Park, was a man-made obstacle trail that should not be underestimated as it required not only strength and agility but also good strategies and team work to be able to complete each course.
This time, spectators had the chance to enjoy the view as the event was more audience-friendly. Even a mini obstacle course was setup for kids to enjoy freely.
The PVA accounted 220 participants and 920 spectators for the K9 event. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)