Australian dragon boat championships return to original host city

2019-04-18 03:15:50 GMT2019-04-18 11:15:50(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
People attend the opening ceremony of the annual Australian Dragon Boat Championships in Canberra, Australia, April 17, 2019. The 22nd annual Australian Dragon Boat Championships (AusChamps) opened on Canberra's Burley Griffin Lake after the traditional eye-dotting and blessing of the boats ceremony on Wednesday. This year's event is held from April 17 to 22, and has attracted nearly 3,000 competitors from clubs throughout the country to participate in club vs club and State vs State races. (Xinhua/Chu Chen) People attend the opening ceremony of the annual Australian Dragon Boat Championships in Canberra, Australia, April 17, 2019. The 22nd annual Australian Dragon Boat Championships (AusChamps) opened on Canberra's Burley Griffin Lake after the traditional eye-dotting and blessing of the boats ceremony on Wednesday. This year's event is held from April 17 to 22, and has attracted nearly 3,000 competitors from clubs throughout the country to participate in club vs club and State vs State races. (Xinhua/Chu Chen)

CANBERRA, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The 22nd annual Australian Dragon Boat Championships (AusChamps) opened on Canberra's Burley Griffin Lake after the traditional eye-dotting and blessing of the boats ceremony on Wednesday.

AusChamps, Australia's premier dragon boating event, hosts clubs from all states and territories in competing for the title of national champion.

This year's event is held from April 17 to 22, and has attracted nearly 3,000 competitors from clubs throughout the country to participate in club vs club and State vs State races.

Canberra, home to the first AusChamps in 1998, is hosting the event for the third time.

"Canberra holds a strong history of support and passion for dragon boat racing since the sport was first introduced to the capital in 1990." said Yvette Berry, Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

"We're very happy to have over 3,500 competitors in dragon boat racing. We have the most beautiful lake for people to be able to participate in that and it's a growing sport. It doesn't matter how old or young you are. It is incredibly creative for anyone who wants to be engaged."

The opening ceremony featured flag-bearers chosen by each state and territory, the paddler's oath, the blessing of the dragon boats, and dotting the eyes and awakening of the dragon, drawing applause from the lakeside crowd and showcasing an activity that has been embraced by a diverse range of multicultural communities in Australia.

Event organizers say dragon boat racing, which was first introduced to Australia in 1980, is now one of the fastest growing recreational and competitive water sports in the country.

Consisting of teams racing in a narrow, man-powered fibreglass boat, the sport is famous for its decorative Chinese dragon tails, heads and drummers who set the pace.

There are currently close to 200 clubs consisting of nearly 7,500 members nationally throughout Australia.

 

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