Dragon Boat Races are in full swing as the Dragon Boat Festival approaches on June 22 this year. On June 17, the 2023 Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Invitational Race was held on the Pearl River. Nearly 5,000 athletes from all over the world participated in the competition. The Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Team (GIDB), composed of players from both China and around the world, also participated in the competition.
Before the Dragon Boat Festival, GDToday reporters revisited this dragon boat team to see how the dragon boat culture has brought together people from many different countries.
Dragon boats resonate traditional Chinese culture around the world
According to Stone, the captain of the Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Team, their team was established in 1998. The youngest member was born in 1998; the oldest is over 50 years old, and dragon boat ties them together.
David Butler, a team member from the UK, has been dragon boating for 13 years. “When I first came to Guangzhou, I learned how to dragon boat because I was interested. Now, dragon boating has become a part of my life, and it links me with Guangzhou!”
As a senior rower, Butler has participated in dragon boat races in many places in the world. David said that people of different ages are fascinated by dragon boats. “Many people worldwide are very interested in China, and they want to know more about Chinese culture. Nowadays, there are dragon boat races almost all over the world, and dragon boats can really promote cultural exchanges.”
Michael He, the longest-serving team member, believes that dragon boating, as a traditional cultural activity, is in the genes of the Chinese people. “So, dragon boat racing is not only popular in Guangdong and China; it attracts more and more people worldwide to join and love this sport. We will also go to Hong Kong SAR to participate in the dragon boat racing next week.”
“Together we win!”
On June 17, the team participated in the Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament.
Johnny, a former team member from Malaysia, also participated in the invitational on behalf of the Malaysian dragon boat team. Johnny said that he started dragon boating at the age of 19 and has more than 20 years of experience. “I’m delighted to feel the atmosphere of the Dragon Boat Festival through this invitational tournament!” He said.
In this competition, the men’s team of the Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Team won seventh place in the men’s open group. They did not perform to their ideal level, but the players were not discouraged. They will go to Hong Kong SAR to participate in the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Invitational Race on June 24, continuing to pursue their dreams.
The team members believe that the most important thing in a game is the people who participate together. As Jennie, a team member from Hong Kong SAR, said on social media after the game, “Together we win!”
Let more people participate in dragon boating
“Every Sunday is the open day of the dragon boat team, and newcomers often come to learn dragon boat rowing. 80% of the team members participating in the competition this year are fresh blood,” Stone, the captain of the dragon boat team, said.
On the open day, in addition to training, coaches will also teach newcomers on the boat to row dragon boats.
According to Michael, the Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Team not only participates in competitions around the world, but also holds dragon boat cultural activities. For example, the team will hold the 5th Haizhu Wetland Dragon Boat Scenery Event in Haizhu Wetland Park in 2023. During the Dragon Boat Festival this year, residents will be able to experience dragon boat culture in person with the team.
Video-shooting: Guan Jieming, Zhang Tianxiong, Qin Shaolong
Video-editing: Eastbrook, Guan Jieming, Xu Xiaoxin
Script: Rofel, Alice
Photography: Rofel, Guan Jieming
Editor: Olivia, Nan, Monica, James