Ancient Chinese sport enjoys growth in popularity in Australia

Enter a captionYarra River Dragons club’s members training on a dragon boat guided by a coach

By Wenxing Yao

One of the largest dragon boating clubs in Australia says the ancient Chinese sport has become a popular choice for people who want to do a team sport.

Australia has been involved in the dragon boat racing since 1980 at when the WA Surf Life Saving Association was asked to send a team to the Penang Festival.

There are several dragon boat clubs opening to people in Australia to try the sport, which is believed to have originated in China more than two thousand years ago.

Melbourne-based Yarra River Dragons is one of these clubs, and was formed in 2001.

Since then it’s grown to an organisation with more than 70 members and several national dragon boat titles in its history.

Members of the Dragons said people chose dragon boat racing because they wanted to do a team sport of exercise, and they found that dragon boats were similar to canoeing.

Gordon, said that before he joined the club 10 years ago he did not know much about dragon boats but he was introduced by a friend who represented Australia in canoeing at the Roman Olympics.

Some people who came from outside of China take part in dragon boating for the purpose of making friends.

One member of the club, Claire, said that she did not know anyone when she first moved to Melbourne, and when she saw an advertisement for dragon boating she decided to give it a try.

She said it was a great way to make friends in a new place because dragon boating is a team sport.

The captain of the club, Emily Mason, said that people were able to learn many things while they were playing dragon boat racing.

She said most people appreciated the teamwork aspect of the sport, both on and off the water.

Off the water, the club is a social one, where people could meet new friends and become a sport of family, Emily said.

“You can learn dedication, time management…how far you can go.”

Dragon boats will continue to flourish in the future, Emily believed.

She thought the sport would become more popular as times went by. 

“Our club has grown significantly over the past few year, and I think other clubs both in Victoria or cross the Australia have grown at the same time, ” she said.

Most of the club’s members are non-Chines, and thought that with a growing Asian-Australian population, Chinese culture played a greater role in enriching Australian society.

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