Dubai Dragon Boating

The 2013 Dragon Boat Festival was far from being just a spectacle. Competition was as fierce as the name would suggest, as Noni Edwards reports.

This year’s event at Festival City was the seventh time it’s been held in Dubai and its popularity is gaining.

It’s no wonder, with its combination of fun, sunshine and the all important team spirit.

Courtesy of Dubai Calendar

“It’s very fun because it’s a team sport. It’s the ultimate team sport, says one competitor. “It’s synchronized, it has to be together, you have to play with the whole team. One stroke, one sound.”

57 teams are competing this year over the two days, for titles in 200, 500 and 1,000 meter races.

Globally, organisers say it’s the second most popular team participation sport in the world, with over 50 million participants.

“Dragon boating has been around for the last two and a half thousand years. Originating from China, and here it is now in the UAE, says one team member. “It brings together different nationalities, different people of all ages, different abilities, and we’re having fun on the water.”

The UAE Dragon Boat Association was founded in 2006 but organisers say the sport has been practised in the UAE for about 80 years.

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 13 April 2013

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