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Dragon Boating

Dragon boat racing is a very traditional sport which is held twice every year. In some foreign countries such as Australia, it is a very popular sport where people will train very hard for this very special race to them. Here in Singapore, we also have our own passion about dragon boating. So what makes some people so passionate about dragon boating? Basically, it is the togetherness, fitness and most important of all, passion. When you are rowing in the boat, there is an extraordinary force which drives you on although you are tired; when in a race, you will be motivated by the morale of the team that you will sweat all out to compete for the team; these are passion.

The Dragon Boat

For the Men’s team, it consists of 11 pairs of rowers, a drummer and a coxswain, which totals up to 24 men. In a race the drummer will be beating the drum to keep the timing right as well as keep the morale high. The coxswain will control the direction of the boat. Lastly the 11 pairs of rowers will concentrate on rowing the boat forward.

The Team

I am from Singapore Polytechnic Dragon Boat Team which represents the school in various dragon boat races such as Men’s Open, Mix’s Open, and a race which only consists of tertiary institutions, called IVP. The motto of the team is that we believe that through hard work and determination, we will reach our goal in winning the championship. We do not believe in giving up easily and will bite our teeth together to pull through any obstacle that comes in our way. Discipline is our way to build up and to keep the team organized and will always practise discipline throughout our training.

The Training

We will start to prepare for the race as early as 6 months before the race. We have different types of training that we prepared ourselves for the race. Training will be held three times a week and even four times a week when race is around the corner. Each training session is planned and conducted by our coach where he will supervise us on our fitness as well as the safety of the rowers. Basically we will have land training in our school on weekdays and sea training at Kallang Sea Sports Club on weekends. 

During land training, we will do cardio training or weights training. So what falls under cardio training? Circuits training is one of them. In circuits training, we will need to go through different stations where each station will consist of different exercises such as sit-ups, pull-ups, or 100M sprinting etc.
For weights training, we will have different weight exercises at each station where each exercise will train up different parts of our body. Basically, we concentrate on our back, shoulder, leg and bicep muscles groups and we will need to complete the number of sets in a certain time that our coach instructed us to do. Sometimes we will also do endurance running and rowing machines at the start of the land training.

As for the sea training, we will concentrate on our strokes and tactics. In dragon boating, teamwork is a very important issue. Therefore it is very important for us to train together often so that we will keep the timing of our strokes right. During sea training, we will work our timing and our coach will point out to us if he finds that there are mistakes in our strokes. Sometimes at the end of the sea training, we will pace with other teams so that we can know where we stand and at the same time gain more experiences.

The Race

Every year, there will usually be 2 major races during June and November. For the June race, it is held to celebrate the annual Dragon Boat Race Festival. The distance for the June race usually falls between 500M to 1000M. As for the November race, it is the Regatta race. The Regatta race is usually held at Clark Quay and held over 2 days. The distance for the race is usually 300M. Although the distance is short for this race, it will be a very competitive event as the timing of the teams will be quite close. There will be a total of 6 events , which are the Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Mixed’s Open, Men’s IVP, Women’s IVP and lastly Mixed’s IVP. For the IVP races, we will need to compete in the heats to get a good timing and be qualified for the IVP Final. As for the Opens, we will need to qualify for the Semis-Final before we can compete for a placing in the Final.

The Glory

It will be an unforgettable and emotional moment when your team finally clinched the championship medal after so many efforts and sweats that have been put in the preparation for the race. But if the team fails to win, it will not dishearten them. It will only drive the team to train even harder for the next race; this is what I call passion.

D – Discipline

R – Radiance

A – Active

G – Give all out

O – Original

N – Never give up

B – Be self-motivated

O – Organized

A – All-rounder

T – Teamwork

Reporter: Cheow Yu Yuan