The 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival gets underway tomorrow and wraps up on Sunday at Goodman’s Bay. Organizers made the announcement yesterday at a press conference held at the Breezes Bahamas resort.
Dragon Boat racing has seen an uptick in interest since its inaugural festival. It has grown from 21 teams in 2021 boats to 34. The event will feature the Dragon Concherers defending their title and will have four teams from the United States competing.
President of the Bahamas Chinese Dragon Boat Association Dr. Christine Chin said that she and her team are looking forward to seeing some strong competition this weekend.
“The growth in participation is evidence of the competitive spirit of the local community. It also shows the excitement around dragon boat racing. We eagerly look forward to the showdown between the armed forces, hotels, medical and corporate teams. We also want to see the breast cancer survivors with the junior and senior teams battling it out,” Chea said.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg is looking forward to the competition this weekend.
“It is amazing to see the growth and progress the association has made in one year,” Bowleg said. “This is more than a competition, it is a celebration of unity, teamwork, and true testimony. It is the government’s commitment to the world of sports. We at the ministry remain hopeful that the dragon boat sport will be a great addition to our sports tourism brand. These kind of sporting events help to boost the economy and have great cultural and social benefits. We are excited for the many opportunities to come for The Bahamas with the partnership with the association.”
The Bahamas became the eighth member of the Pan American Dragon Boat Federation last year. The president of that federation, Franco Siu Chong, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, congratulated the local association for the growth of the sport.
“I hope that the Bahamians would get involved in the sport so they can be competitive and enter on to the international scene. We are working to make it an Olympic sport and we hope to see a national team in that Olympics,” Chong said.
He is hoping to see the youth become more involved in the sport and he hopes to see more Caribbean countries adopt the sport.
President of the International Breast Cancer Paddles Commission Meri Gibson who hails from New Zealand, alluded to the benefits of the sport and loved that the sport is growing in The Bahamas.
“It is an incredible sport for survivors and incredible camaraderie that comes with it. We have friends all around the world and you can hop on to a boat somewhere and be more than welcomed to join in. I am astounded at the work the association has done over the year,” Gibson said.
Sales Manager at Breezes Bahamas Heather Smith said they will have a boat in the festival this year and they will look to dethrone the defending champions.
Apart from the racing, the festival will also feature food on sale, cultural performances and a Junkanoo rush-out. They will host a breast cancer survivors flower ceremony on Sunday.