Elephants hold jumbo swimming race to keep fit in Thailand

Some elephants and their riders participated in a swim race across a river in central Thailand as a fun form of exercise for the giant beasts last Friday (April 5).

Footage shows a herd of elephants taking part in swimming races to stay in shape in the cool waters of the Lopburi River in Ayutthaya, central Thailand.

With mahouts sitting on their backs, the elephants paddled across the stretch of water while crowds of spectators cheered. The race lasted for about 10 minutes until the strongest elephant, named, Nga-Thong, was the first to reach the bank and won the prize.

Bosses at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace said that swimming competitions are the best exercise for the elephants.

Elephant trainer Laitongrean Meephan said the beasts need to stay fit ahead of the Thai King's Coronation on May 29 when they will be used in the colourful procession through the streets.

The trainer commented: ‘’Our elephants are very strong but sometimes they need extra power, so we held the swimming competition for them to exercise and work off some of their energy.

‘'The weather here is getting hot as well. I think they took too much time in the race because they were enjoying the water so much.’’