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City bankers take to the water

2010-07-07 05:43:26 GMT2010-07-07 13:43:26 (Beijing Time)

Competitive bank employees in London are taking to the water in dragon boats to unwind after a hard day's work. The fast growing sport has become a popular past-time for financial high-flyers.

It may seem an unlikely way for a group of bankers to unwind from a day's work, but these dragon boaters are powering their way to victory on the waters.

It's one of the fastest growing water sports in the world, and the most competitive.

RBS analyst Jenny Lok is one of the strongest member's of the team Raging Dragons.

"At the end of the day, it's all about winning. Same as banking. If you are competing with other banks where you are trying to gain clients, it's always about doing the best you can do."

Dragon boating can be traced back more than 2000 years to ancient China. It was the practice of superstitious villagers who held races on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month to entice rain and prosperity.

Raging Dragons not only train several times a week, but also spend weekends racing in a national league.

They are a variety of nationalities and professions. RBS, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Barclays are all represented. Tin Lau is club chairman.

"People in high powered, high stress jobs like a way to relax and expel some aggression. Dragon boating is good as it is a controlled aggression and people will get a really good full body workout from it."

While this team are climbing the ranks in the national league, they also take part in international events, including a 30K race through the canals of Venice.

Over 6000 people in more than 1500 boats took to water as part of the 36th Vogalonga.

The event began in the 1970s as a protest by rowers, frustrated by the amount of wake caused by motorised boats in the lagoons.

The physical benefits of this sport are obvious, but this team are adamant that it's also the size of the team that gets people hooked.

"Dragon boating is very unique in that you have a lot of people involved. It is very much a team sport. Rowing you can have maybe 4 to 8 people, but rarely do you have a water sport that involves 22-24 people all paddling at the same time."

UK teams are digging deep for both national and international success.

With some members set to represent Great Britain this summer, Raging Dragons plans to ride the wave of this sport, right to the top.

Ciara Sutton, Reuters.

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