TWENTY-SIX teams took to the waters for the 14th edition of the Chinese Bicentennial Dragon Boat Regatta, at the Chaguramas Boardwark, yesterday.
Aquaholics took first place in the Premier Mixed 200m final with a time of 54.7 secs.
Oceanus finished close behind in second with 55.1 secs and Excellent Stores Titans rounded up 3rd place with 59.6 secs.
In the Under-21 female 200m final, it was Holy Name Convent outlasting both Bishop Anstey teams. The Sea Dragons finished comfortably in first place with a time of 1:06.06. The Bishop Anstey Dragons B team came in a close second place with a time of 1:06.02 an their A team trailing close behind with a 1:11:03.
Hillview College Hyperion took first place in the Under-21 Open 200m final, with a time of 58.75 secs. Presentation College San Fernando Vikings represented South well with a second place outing and a time of 59.74 secs.
Trinity One Ton Warriors Fried were just edged out by the Vikings and finished third clocking in at 59.77.
Oceanus came back to beat Aquaholics in the Premier Open 200m final and finished first with a time of 56.82. Aquaholics came up short with a time of 57.21. The Titans would finish third in 59.66 secs.
The Chinese Association of TT and the TT Chinese Mutual Support Association (TTCMSA) also competed for the Ambassadors Cup as part of the regatta’s festivities. The Chinese Association beat the TTCMSA in a close contest.
Dignitaries present at the Dragon Boat Regatta included: Bernard Aquing, president of Chinese Bicentennial Limited; Keith Dalip, president of the TT Dragon Boat Federation; Song Yumin, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to TT; and Patrice Charles, who represented the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.
Aquing opened the proceedings and reflected on the arrival of the Chinese to the shores of TT and also pointed out the significance of the sport in relation to Chinese culture, the representation of youth at the Dragon Boat Festival and the growth of the sport since 2006.
“The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the arrival of our foreparents to this land, 213 years ago when 195 persons arrived on the vessel ‘Fortitute’ on the 12 October 1806. The CBL has continuted what was first started in 2006, to celebrate each year, the arrival of Chinese people and we see this as an opportunity not only to showcase sports, which is the Dragon Boat Festival, but also some cultural events. Dragon boat racing is not only a sport. It is something that is synonymous with Chinese culture which dates back over 2000 years ago.
It is growing in popularity all around the world, and you could see today, a large proportion of the participants are the young people from the schools, which gives us a rich pool of talent to draw on dragon boat racing.”
“Earlier this year, the Dragon Boat Federation put on an international event in Tobago at Pigeon Point so, this shows that the sport is growing in this part of the world.
“Today, we will have a full day of competition spiced with some cultural events and I hope that you will enjoy what is on offer.
I thank all for participating in today’s event and this thing could never have come off without the support of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.
“To support Dragon Boat Racing is very expensive. When we started we had 6 boats. Today you could look around and see at least 10 boats in the water. When we started we had six teams. Today, I am being told that there are twenty-six teams participating. In fourteen years, the sport has grown.” Keith Dalip spoke on the contributions that the Chinese have made since coming to the shores of TT.
“Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of the first Chinese immigrants to Trinidad and little did people know back then that, a seemingly inauspicious event like that produced such a lasting legacy for us in TT. We’ve had people of Chinese descent as statesmen, medical professionals, clergy, sports people, businessmen and the list goes on. The contribution of our Chinese brothers and sisters to our nation’s development have been immeasurable.”
At the end, he asked the public to join in a moment of silence to remember the four men and three women that lost their lives in the Philippines after their boat was capsized by the rough waves while training for an international rowing competition.
Ambassador Yumin spoke said Dragon Boat racing represents the partnership that China and TT share. “Dragon Boat racing has grown to become a very popular sport in TT. The annual Dragon Boat Festival becomes a showcase of Chinese culture and traditions and enrich the cultural diversity of the society of TT. So, I personally appreciate the efforts of the Chinese Bicentennial Limited and to the Pan American Dragon Boat Federation as well as the TT Dragon Boat Federation over the years, to have made Dragon Boat racing not only a promising sport but also bridge our cultural exchanges and friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. This year, we celebrate the 45th anniversary of China-TT diplomatic ties. This ongoing bilateral relationship is not only embodied through frequent high-level mutual visits and strong economic ties, but also the vigorous culture-communication deeply rooted in the people.”