Three teams from the Philippines will battle against the world’s best in the annual China Construction Bank (Asia) Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races in Victoria Harbor from June 2 to 4.
The University of the Philippines (UP) Dragon Boat Team, the Philippine Accessible Disability Services (PADS) Dragon Boat Team, and the Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team will be joining hundreds of racing teams from all over the world in vying for the highly coveted 20th Anniversary Trophy in celebration of Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary.
Members of the UP Dragon Boat Team have been training vigorously for their Hong Kong comeback. The 2013 champions of the Fancy Costume Race hope to win more medals this year through intense physical and psychological conditioning, as well as by using the Philippines’ archipelagic nature to their advantage. “As a country surrounded by bodies of water, there is no excuse to be an incompetent team,” they said.
But for the first-time Hong Kong Dragon Boat Race competitors of the PADS Dragon Boat Team, the tournament takes on a special meaning and purpose. Wanting to promote awareness for persons with disabilities, the team hopes to “use this event as a vehicle to show that people with disabilities have equal capabilities and can compete even in physical sports like the dragon boat races.”
Another newcomer to the Hong Kong races is the Triton Dragon Boat Team, which recognizes the prestige of being able to join the competition this year. “Hong Kong is where the development of the sport started and it has influenced the standardization of dragon boat racing around the world. Thus, racing in Hong Kong is a great privilege and honor for the Triton team,” they said.
As the birthplace of modern competitive dragon boat racing, Hong Kong’s dragon boat races have always been among the most anticipated in the world. This year, CCB Asia, in cooperation with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), is sponsoring the sports event.