|Champs: The Ứng Hòa team receive the prize for winning the amateur category. — VNS Photo Hồng Vân|
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s dragon boat race concluded yesterday in West Lake in the capital’s Tây Hồ District.
The race heralds the onset of spring and is already a hugely popular cultural event, despite it only being the second year the race has been held.
Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam and Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung attended the event that attracted nearly 500 athletes from 30 local and international teams.
For each round, there were a total of nine competing boats. Athletes competed in boats of 12 people over a distance of 600m in professional and amateur races.
“This is the first time I have attended the festival. It’s very exciting. I once competed in Phú Quốc and Bình Thuận out in the sea but in West Lake, the water is calm, it is easier for us,” said Nguyễn Văn Trãi from the Hồ Chí Minh City team.
“For the contest like this, technique and maintaining the pace to achieve the best result are the factors that count,” he added.
The Laos team won the professional men’s final in a total time of 3.22.91, receiving a total of VNĐ100 million (US$4,320).
The Hong Kong team finished at second in a total time of 3.29.92.
|On your marks: A view of the teams on West Lake. — VNS Photo|
Kee Zhia Zhuang, an athlete from Malaysia’s team, said his team were excited to get invited to join this event.
“We learn that this is the first time international teams are invited so it’s exciting for us, we got to know. It’s not an individual sport, it’s about team work either depending on the boat size, some is 10 some is 20 and make sense also open. So basically, it’s so exciting and challenging at the same time. You are not pedalling for yourself but for the team,” he said.
“In Penang, we are training on the sea so it’s more challenging for us because here the water is quiet and shallow, so it’s a little bit different we have to paddle harder, not faster. So it’s quite different,” Zhuang added.
Meanwhile, in the women’s category, the central province of Quảng Trị’s team won the final, while Thái Nguyên finished second.
In the non-professional group, the teams come from districts, wards and towns of Hà Nội like Ba Vì, Bắc Từ Liêm, Đan Phượng, Thanh Trù, and Ứng Hòa.
Ứng Hòa District won the men’s final, winning VNĐ20 million ($864), while Chương Mỹ District won the women’s event.
Nguyễn Văn Thành from Ứng Hòa team, told Việt Nam News, "I was super excited when I saw that our team was the winner. We come from a small rural area of Hà Nội and are mostly manual workers yet today we have the chance to compete here in the capital and win the competition. Nothing can compare to this pleasure of being the winner." — VNS