Watersports: Dragon Boating hits Sri Lankan waters

16 April 2018 - 86   - 0

Sri Lanka will get an addition to the existing fleet of water-sports with the introduction of Dragon Boating. 

This initiative of the National Association for Canoeing & Kayaking, Sri Lanka (NACKSL), is co-sponsored by the Japan Canoe Federation (JCF) and Polytex Garments, a Hong Kong-Chinese Textile Exporting Co. operating from Sri Lanka. 

Dragon Boating training has been conducted by Sunil Kewat, an ICF Level 2 and IKCA Level 1 coach from India, whose much valued services have been provided courtesy of the Indian Kayaking & Canoeing Federation (IKCA). 

The launch in Sri Lanka is scheduled for 4.00pm on April 23 at the Diyawanna Rowing Centre, coinciding with the final day of the Canoe-Kayak Nationals Competition being held on April 22, 23. 

"Dragon Boating is about a boat of 10 or even 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steering person, paddling to cross the finish line faster than their competitors. It is a team sport in its purest form, that involves the elements of power, speed, synchronization, mental focus and endurance, using the mind and body. It is also ideally suited for team building and leadership training exercises," said NACKSL President Preethi Perera. 

"Legend has it that a Chinese scholar of the times, Qu Yuan, advisor to the Chu Kingdom, jumped into the Mei Lo river in despair, to protest against government corruption. Local fishermen raced out in their boats to save him. They beat drums and pounded their paddles on the rivers waters and threw rice dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves into the river, to distract the fish from eating Qu Yuan's body. Dragon Boating evolved from the enactment of this legend at annual festivals held in China." 

Begun in South China over 2,000 years ago, Dragon Boating today is the fastest growing international team water sport. 

Practised in over 70 countries worldwide, race festivals are held around the world in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada and the United States of America. 

Teams with well conditioned paddlers in perfect synchronization, fuelled by competition, provides an impressive event of a cascade of boats bursting through the waters, and is an exciting event for its spectators. 

This is a competitive sport, as also a leisure sport and its festivals create a great tourist attraction. 

It is also being introduced for the first time at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. It will be an ideal opportunity for a Sri Lankan team to participate in such an event.

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