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The York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge - History



Traditionally, the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the ancient patriot-poet Qu Yuan who lived in China from 340 - 278 B.C. Qu Yuan was a minister who advocated reforms in his home state of Chu. He was banished from the state of Chu after criticizing the government and the emperor and in exile Qu Yuan wrote poetry expressing his concern for his country and people. In 278, he wandered along the banks of the Mi Lo River and was never seen again.


To commemorate the day when people rushed out to the river to find and rescue Qu Yuan, people living in South China made it an annual event to race boats. Since then, the Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing has come to represent the noble spirit of Qu Yuan, who is remembered for his self-sacrifice, his steadfast morality, the power of his writing, and his concern for his countrymen.



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Today, it is one of the fastest growing athletic events in the world. The World Championships of Dragon Boat Racing have been held annually since 1976 in Hong Kong. The International Dragon Boat Federation, based in London, is developing the sport on a world wide basis.


What is most exciting, however, is the growth of the sport at the grass roots level. Most international crews attract primarily mixed teams from companies, public service groups, clubs sponsored by small businesses and educational establishments.

Dragon Boats are the largest flatwater racing canoes in the world.

A crew of up to 16 paddlers paced by a drummer at the bow and guided by a helmsman at the stern, combine power and rhythm to achieve maximum acceleration and speed over a 250 metre course to create a truly visually exciting event.

IMG_1459a 2010 A Tight Finish d h 3 crop