THE Xiangzhou District Racing Team emerged as dark horse to win the 4th Zhuhai International Dragon Boat Tournament last Saturday, defeating two-time defending champion Qianwu Racing Team and five other powerful entries in the final of the Zhuhai Men's 800m Standard Straight Speed Race. Jing’an and Lianzhou town racing teams took the second and third places.
Twelve teams from places like Canada, Portugal, the UK, Hong Kong and Macao competed. Hong Kong PPT Sea Tiger Team won the international Men’s Race and the Canadian team won the Women’s Race. In the meantime, 10 teams including Xiangzhou and Jinwan District teams and five town teams of Doumen District took part in the Zhuhai men's event.
The contest was sponsored by the city and organised by the Doumen District government. Some 60,000 people watched the race along the Huangyang River in Xidi Park of Doumen's Jing'an Town.
During the race, model aircraft, amphibious aircraft and small electric aircraft demonstrated tumbling, diving, climbing, inverted flying and chasing, laying out streamers, casting coloured ribbons, ejecting smoke and other performances.
The fiercest competition was between the 10 local dragon boat teams. The Baijiao and Qianwu teams were winners of the qualifying contest. The semi-final produced six entries -- Xiangzhou and Jinwan district teams and Lianzhou, Qianwu, Baijiao and Jing'an town teams.
The Xiangzhou District Team took a slight lead in the last 50 metres of the final and then crossed the finishing line with 4'01"05 to avenge its sixth-place showing in the previous year.
Composed of public security and border detachment servicemen and two civilians, the Xiangzhou team had conducted 20-day "devil training" exercises prior to the competition, according to its coach surnamed Li. They learned to row the boat from the very beginning and logged 20km daily, he explained.
One member of the Canadian Women’s Team learned by accident that the international women’s race would be added to the event for the first time late last year. The team began to practice last January, four hours a week in the sun, Martha Levin noted. She said she and her team-mates were excited about the outcome and she hopes that they will race again next year.
More than 130 Doumen volunteers ranging from 18-year-old college students to 50-year-old retired women helped to maintain order, guiding lost seniors and kids, while reminding spectators to watch out during the event. At the same time, 440 police and security guards were stationed along the river. Two frogmen were also on standby for water rescue, according to the Public Security Bureau.