The Sport

Dragon Boat Head

The Legend

The sport of Dragon Boat Racing has a very long history and has been around for more than 2000 years. The beginnings of the sport somehow lie in the following legend of Ch’u Yuan. In the Chinese Kingdom of Ch’u one of the ministers lost his position some time in the 4th century BC and was sent into exile. In protest at his punishment, the minister Ch’u Yuan, threw himself in the Mi Lo river. The local fishermen, who respected Ch’u Yuan, saw him struggling in the river and tried to help. They raced, in their boats, to the spot where Ch’u Yuan was last seen. In order to keep the river dragons away from Ch’u Yuan they beat drums and splashed their paddles in the water. Despite fishermen’s efforts Ch’u Yuan drowned. But his legacy is the sport that we know and love.

The Bigger Picture

Today Dragon Boat Racing is the biggest participation sport in the world, bigger even than soccer. Countries from five continents took part in the 2003 World Nations Championships in Poznan. Great Britain enters all three divisions in international competition, Junior (18 and Under), Premier and Senior (40 and over). In the Premier and Senior divisions there are Ladies and Open crews, with a combination of both competing as a mixed crew.  On the World stage, Great Britian’s dragonboat racing crews have showed that they are highly competitive, winning medals at all levels of competition in recent years.

In the UK there are numerous Dragon Boat events, many for charity, raising thousands of pounds. There is also a National League with two divisions, Premier and Standard, run by the British Dragon Boat Association. Some of the crews that take part in the National league can be found on our links page. So if you can’t make it to Worcester there is bound to be a club near you.