Dragon Boat Racing – a modern sport with ancient traditions
In the 1970s the Hong Kong Tourist Association (now Tourist Board) decided to stage an International Dragon Boat Festival to promote Hong Kong. In 1976 the first Hong Kong International Races took place, an event recognised today, by dragon boaters world wide, as the start of the ‘Modern Era’ of Sport Dragon Boat Racing. The HKIR developed into an annual festival of enormous success and impressive press pictures of the Hong Kong Races went around the world. Until the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) was formed in 1991, the HKIR were the ‘unofficial club crew world championships’ of the sport. Crews who competed in the HKIR then went home and started their own Dragon Boat Associations, the EDBF (European), the IDBF and the ADBF (Asian) Federations, the three Federations who now govern Dragon Boating as practised in over 60 countries.
Since the formation of the IDBF, the sport has spread rapidly throughout the world. Today, over 30 years after the first HKIR, the numbers show the truly impressive development of modern Dragon Boat Sport. With nearly 50 million competing participants in China; over 300,000 in the UK and similar numbers in European countries, including Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia; 90,000 in Canada and the USA and many thousands in Australia and New Zealand and with the sport now spreading through the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific Basin, Dragon Boat Sport, under its governing bodies is a vibrant, effective and independent paddle sport.
Dragon Boat Competitions have developed into a serious, high-performance, competitive sport, with many Dragon Boat Associations producing National Teams of elite dragon boat paddlers, many of whom being ex-olympic standard. IDBF World Championships, EDBF European Championships and ADBF Asian Championships are well established, as are Regional Championships in North America and National Championships in Europe. Championship Medals are hard to come by and well deserved.
A whole new ethos and different set of racing values has developed from the Hong Kong International Festival Races. There is no other paddle sport in which 22 people work together to create a team result rewarded through the efforts of the whole crew, rather than a few individual performances. This harmony of purpose can only be achieved through many hours of training in the boat, learning to be a complete crew and developing the team spirit and understanding necessary to work together, as one unit, for the common good.
More than 30 years later the numbers show the impressive development of Dragon Boat Sport. 50 million dragon boaters alone in China and the sport, through the IDBF, has now spread to all continents’
As well as Sport Racing, across the world companies like 4 Dragons Ltd have helped to develop the Festival Racing side of Dragon Boating too. Many Festival Races are successful due to the large number of crews and huge numbers of people that enter just for the fun and excitement of the event.
One of the advantages of Dragon Boating is that you can form a Regatta or Festival Event with 'Fun Crews' who have little or no experience and knowledge. It is surprising how quickly these 'fun' teams become competitive in a Dragon Boat. A lot of Festival Crews come from the ‘corporate market’ and 'charities' and compete in Festival Dragon Boat Racing.
As a Dragon Boat Regatta or Festival is also a social event and a team building activity in which the strengths and abilities of employees are soon apparent it is widely attractive to progressive and forward thinking organisations who see developmental benefits in supporting such events.
The growth in the Regatta and Festival Racing scene is enormous with events being organised world-wide each year. This is particularly true in Canada and the USA, where Sport Racing Crews also race in the Festival Races. In Europe, the Malmo Festival in Sweden attracts many hundreds of crews from companies and the community and the races last for a week. Organised through the Swedish Dragon Boat Association and the Malmo Canoe Club, the Malmo Festival Races and other such races in Sweden and many more throughout the world, generate funds for the Sport too.
In the UK 4 Dragons are here to help you experience Dragon Boat racing at any level you wish. Contact us to see how we can help you or support your goals.
Dragon Boat Racing – the modern sport with ancient traditions. Serious sport but serious fun too !
Dragon Boating is the mass participation paddle sport of today, with an ancient past and a very bright future. Not yet an Olympic sport but heading that way fast, Dragon Boat Racing is a ‘team sport’; a very social sport and great fun too! Attractive to the corporate market and as a ‘community activity’ it is also a high performance sport for elite standard athletes.
This ability range in a team sport full of tradition, culture and social interaction is highly desirable in today's world. Dragon Boating is a sport and recreational activity that can be pursued by everyone and anyone of all abilities and at every level of competition.
That is the greatness of Dragon Boating
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