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Home / Entertainment / This years National Nowka Bais has extra significance to it as it celebrates 50th Anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

This years National Nowka Bais has extra significance to it as it celebrates 50th Anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.


After what seems like a lifetime since we managed to enjoy summer festivities – 2022 is the year

where we can all start to let our hair down just a bit. A year later than its original schedule – The

12th National Nowka Bais will return with its joyous and wonderful celebration of Bangladeshi

culture and sport, bringing it to the iconic Dorney Lake – the home of 2012 London Olympics on

21st August 2022.

This years National Nowka Bais has extra significance to it as it celebrates 50th Anniversary of

Bangladesh’s Independence and her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. To mark this, Nowka

Bais team has decided that only Dorney Lake will be able to encapsulate the grandeur of the


Dorney Lake has been inked into British history as one of the finest rowing lakes in the world, with

the lake hosting the rowing events as part of London 2012. Dorney Lake was an idea that was

conceived in the 1960’s by rowing teachers at Eton college. It took the college 10 years to

complete the construction of the lake between 1996-2006, all in time for London 2012. During the

games there were a total of 400,000 visitors and over 30 medals were awarded over the games –

so if there is one venue that can truly accommodate the 12th National Nowka Bais in the United

Kingdom, it is this iconic rowing lake.

Abdul (Head of Operations) said: “We have been keeping a close eye on Dorney Lake for a

number of years, even more so after London 2012. To celebrate Bangladesh’s 50th Anniversary

and 50 years of British-Bangladesh friendship at Eton Dorney of all places, it really is a truly special


Rumel, (Nowka Bais Head of Media) added: “We want to share the event as much as possible. We

will be using the digital streams creatively to reach our audiences on many different platforms and

in many different countries.”

Since its inception in 2008 in Oxford, Nowka Bais has continued to grow in popularity here in the

United Kingdom, more significantly though it has rejuvenated a traditional sport in Bangladesh with

many local villages now becoming more competitive after learning that the Nowka Bais was

being competed on UK waters. Aziz ur Rahman, founder of the Nowka Bais UK said that “the

Nowka Bais brings a very special connection between British-Bangladeshi people and the land of

their forefathers. I am really happy to be able to hold this event in such a special year and in a

such an extraordinary venue.“

The 12th National Nowka Bais will be a fiercely contested race, where 18 teams will line up in

traditional Olympic style heat race format vying for positions to reach the final where for the first

time in its 12 year history – 6 teams will compete in the ultimate race. They will also be competing

for the biggest prizes in the history of Nowka Bias – £5000 plus 18-carat gold plated trophy for the

winner, second prize of £2000 for the runner-up, £1000 for the second runner-up, £500 for the fourth

place, and medals for all the finalists.

Raiyan (Head of Finance) says “We always wanted to increase the reward for the winners, so it

was just a matter of time. I think we can now enhance the overall prestige of the event, and show

our appreciation to all the participants in this demanding race.”

Most notably The National Nowka Bais are proud and honoured to have confirmed for this year,

Honorary Brand Ambassadors who continue to make a positive impact within their roles and keen

supporters of the National Nowka Bais – Baroness Manzila Pola Uddin, His Excellency

Anwar Choudhury, Former Governor of the Cayman Islands & Former British High Commissioner to

Bangladesh & British Ambassador to Peru and Sir Gordon Greenidge, former Head Coach of

Bangladesh National Cricket Team.

We are also pleased to announce that Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem, the Bangladeshi High

Commissioner to the United Kingdom has accepted the role of Patron of the Nowka Bais this year.

She commented: “The ‘Nowka Bais’ is a distinctively colourful celebration of Bangladeshi Heritage

and enjoyed by people across our country. It is wonderful to be a part of this joyous festival that

symbolises the strong friendship between the people of the UK and Bangladesh. As a Patron I am

honoured and particularly excited to hold this special boat racing event to mark the once-in-alifetime

occasion of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and 50 years of Bangladesh-UK relations. I want

to thank the very enterprising Nowka Bais team and our British Bangladeshi diaspora for making this

happen this beautiful summer.”

This years Nowka Bais will be held at Dorney Lake at Eton Dorney on Sunday 21st August 2022. Full

details are available on the website as well as all of the social media

handles @NowkabaisUk #NationalNowkaBais 5th Annual National Nowka Bais Competition

Nowka Bais in Oxford: how it began

In 2007 the county of Oxfordshire celebrated its 1,000th birthday. As part of the festivities, I

was asked to organise Go with the Flow, a festival of the waterways which bring life, beauty,

and reminders of a slower pace of life to this busy part of England. With the help of

fishermen, sea scouts, navy cadets, the Glasgow lifeboat, the actor David Suchet and Oxford’s

community and university boat clubs, we had a memorable day on the river.

One of its highlights – and for many the most thrilling event of all – was a race between two

Bangladeshi canoes, or Nowka Bais, along the Thames in Oxford. Each canoe was forty feet

long, painted bright red, white, yellow and green, with an eight-man crew in dazzling colours,

paddling furiously to the beat of a drummer in the prow. Spectators shouted and cheered, the

paddles threw up arcs of spray, the pointed beaks of the boats surged through the water,

jostling for the lead. The riverside was on fire with excitement.

The event was a great success. Everyone wanted to know where the boats had come from,

who were the crews, how did we put the whole thing together?

The idea had come from Aziz ur-Rahman, a well-known Oxford figure, owner of restaurants

and a keen supporter of the Cowley Road Carnival and other community events. Aziz had

offered to build two traditional racing canoes in Bangladesh and ship them over to Oxford in

time for the big day. He would also supply crews, prizes for the winners, and a Bangladeshi

television news team. With luck, he said, the High Commissioner would come too.

He was as good as his word. The canoes arrived in dramatic fashion, just 36 hours before the

race, in a Thai Airways Boeing 747. Each boat was in three sections, and had to be bolted

together. I remember the scene as we manhandled the sections off the lorry from Heathrow. It

was a cold May evening, late and dark, and the canoes seemed loaded with lead. But we

managed it somehow.

The next day a team of carpenters assembled the sections and nailed metal plates over the

joins to make them watertight – a much trickier business than we thought. During the races,

the hulls were one-third full of water by the time they reached the finishing line, but in the

jubilation of the moment it didn’t seem to matter. I was glad, though, that all the crews wore

buoyancy-jackets – just in case they went overboard – and that the Glasgow Humane Society

lifeboat was in attendance.

Since 2007, Nowka Bais has continued in the city with the founding in 2008 of the Oxford

Bangladeshi Boat Club (OBBC) based at the Falcon Rowing and Canoeing Club, which

organises training on the river, and two annual race meetings – one run by OBBC, the other

by Aziz. Together these events offer a great opportunity for Bangladeshis from all over

Britain to practise this healthy, traditional and immensely exciting sport in a new context.