Pu­tuo makes big dragon boat race splash

Shanghai Daily - - PUTUO SPECIAL - Yang Jian

Over 50 teams from both home and abroad com­peted in Shang­hai’s an­nual dragon boat race along Suzhou Creek in Pu­tuo District on June 9 and 10.

A to­tal of 944 pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur ath­letes from the United States, Ger­many, Switzer­land and France, com­peted with the top dragon boat rac­ers from the city and across China.

They com­peted, in the 200me­ter and 500m long sec­tions of the creek in Pu­tuo, for the 2018 PHICOMM Cup China Dragon Boat Open (Pu­tuo Shang­hai) and the 15th Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Suzhou Creek Dragon Boat In­vi­ta­tion Tour­na­ment.

The team from Dali Town, of Foshan City in south Guang­dong Province, scooped Group A’s top prize in the Pu­tuo leg of the China dragon boat open cham­pi­onship on June 10. The teams from the Shang­hai Qian­wei Sports As­so­ci­a­tion, Pu­tuo Po­lice Sta­tion, Caoyang Vo­ca­tional School and Shang­hai Mar­itime Univer­sity won prizes in var­i­ous group com­pe­ti­tions.

A high­light of this year’s event saw Ger­man foot­ball club Borus­sia Dort­mund com­pete with other teams at the in­vi­ta­tional tour­na­ment. Play­ers also held an ex­hi­bi­tion on the river bank to show­case the his­tory and cul­ture of their club and Ger­man foot­ball games.

Dort­mund was in­vited to par­tic­i­pate af­ter vis­it­ing Pu­tuo’s foot­ball school, a ma­jor train­ing cen­ter for Chi­nese foot­ball play­ers, said Zhang Jun, Party sec­re­tary of the Pu­tuo district sports bureau. The club has opened its Shang­hai of­fice to de­velop along with China’s pros­per­ous sports mar­ket.

“Dragon boat rac­ing is a sport in­volv­ing Chi­nese tra­di­tional cul­ture, and our team is de­lighted to take part in the game for the first time,” said Ben­jamin Wahl, pres­i­dent of the China re­gion of the club. He said dragon boat and foot­ball have many sim­i­lar­i­ties.

The Ger­man club plans to take part in a warm-up game in China and Wahl said they may even ar­range a tra­di­tional dragon boat race for the play­ers as part of their train­ing.

Or­ga­niz­ers in­vited for­eign com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions, in Shang­hai and Pu­tuo, to par­tic­i­pate. Teams from sports re­tailer De­cathlon and Em­lyon Busi­ness School com­peted in the open and in­vi­ta­tional races.

Chi­nese ex­plor­ers to Antarc­tica and crew mem­bers with the coun­try’s renowned ice­breaker Xue­long, or Snow Dragon, took part in the dragon boat race this year.

Zhang Xude, the pi­lot of Xue­long, served as a key mem­ber of the Antarc­tica Ori­en­ta­tion Dragon Boat team. Zhang said he re­al­ized the dragon boat spir­its, which in­volve co­op­er­a­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion, are es­sen­tial for them to over­come nu­mer­ous chal­lenges dur­ing the Antarc­tica ex­plo­ration.

“For in­stance, the Xue­long ice­breaker of­ten sways dra­mat­i­cally when it crosses the south­ern west­er­lies,” Zhang said. “The dragon boat race ex­pe­ri­ence can help us build stronger physique and willpower to over­come such dif­fi­cul­ties.”

The Suzhou Creek dragon boat race was launched in 2004 to high­light the re­sults of a clean-up cam­paign.

It has be­come an im­por­tant fix­ture in Pu­tuo as it at­tempts to show­case its com­mit­ment to the en­vi­ron­ment and rapid ur­ban devel­op­ment.

Pu­tuo has been ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing Suzhou Creek’s wa­ter qual­ity since the 1980s and in­tends to de­velop the area into an eco­log­i­cal zone and an ideal place for liv­ing, work­ing and in­no­va­tion. The wa­ter qual­ity of the Suzhou Creek has greatly im­proved af­ter “river chiefs” were ap­pointed to take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity of wa­ter qual­ity.

The or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee of the dragon boat race has made a mi­cro movie themed on the event to show­case Pu­tuo’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment and ur­ban con­struc­tion achieve­ments.

The movie fea­tur­ing the clear wa­ter of Suzhou Creek has won a num­ber of awards dur­ing the city’s var­i­ous film fes­ti­vals.

“We have long heard of the Suzhou Creek of Shang­hai, but the dragon boat race of­fers us the op­por­tu­nity to closely

Dragon boats race on the Suzhou Creek. — Pho­tos by Shen Xiaom­ing

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