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Here come the dragons

28 Feb 2012

Here come the dragons Image

Docklands will be awash with dragon boat competitors later this month as the sport’s national championships come to town.

The 2012 Australian titles were launched on February 22 by China’s Acting  Consul-General Fengwen Huang before a small group of enthusiasts at the Harbour Kitchen overlooking the course in Victoria Harbour.

In his welcoming speech, Mr Huang tied together the history of dragon boating and its Chinese heritage with the local Melbourne dragon boating sporting community.

Some 3000 paddlers are expected to descend on Docklands for the racing between March 31 and April 5.

With officials, friends and family as well as competitors, Docklands’ traders will experience a welcome financial injection.

Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Keith Rankin said the economic benefits to Docklands were only part of the story.

“One of the great things about exciting events like this is that it makes Docklands such a great place to live too,” he said.

Mr Rankin said the collaboration of various local groups to assist the staging of the event left him feeling “warm and fuzzy”.

He said he loved the fact that the Australian Dragon Boat Federation (AusDBF) and Dragon Boats Victoria were including the local community in all aspects of the event.

In a first for the history of dragon boat racing in Australia, the event will have a five-day schedule which is testament to the growth and popularity of the sport.

The action will be fast and furious as the dragon boats thrash their way through Victoria Harbour in a show that is a combination of agility, athleticism and unadulterated paddling prowess.

Docklands is home to a number of dragon boating clubs, with five local paddlers winning gold medals at the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) world championships in the USA last August.

Some 16 members of the Melbourne Flames and two members of Dragon Masters competed alongside 160 others on the Australian dragon boat team.

Both the Melbourne Flames and Dragon Masters train at Shed 2 in Victoria Harbour.

AusDBF president Kel Watts said: “Our flagship event’s expansion to five days, over two and a half thousand contestants, 80 clubs from every state, and racing alongside the Melbourne CBD, is a coming of age for the sport.”

“To celebrate the occasion in Australia’s sports capital is a privilege and I am certain the Melbourne public will support the event. We will do our best to treat Victorians to some heart-pumping racing action as well as the colour, movement and noise of spectacular cultural performances.”

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  • Elodie Williams at 11:15pm on 29/02/12

    How exciting!
    I can't wait to come down and race.
  • Toni Borrett at 10:30pm on 01/03/12

    And DAM Busters - breast cancer survivors dragonboaters will be there too!
  • maxine reid at 9:47am on 02/03/12

    I am a part of the GGD'S & I live in Albury I come down each week for training with the State GGD'S, cant wait for the Auschamps, I know all the hard work that has been going on with quite a few people that are very good friends from The Dragon Masters & also the Flames.

    A great Venue, we attend as a Member of our local Brave heart Team we attend a lot of Regattas down there and enjoy them .
  • Jenny Gibson at 10:36pm on 06/03/12

    The Melbourne International Dragon Boat Festival will also be on at Docklands this Sunday, 11th March. That should include the excitement of the State titles for 500 metres events. I hope the Chinese Lion Dance will be there too, as they make for a colourful spectacle.

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