World's highest-level dragon boat race runs in Kunming
Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, has proven itself a hub of international events, attracting more than 2,500 athletes from 24 countries and regions to attend the 13th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships on Oct 18.
Held at the city's Dianchi Lake, the race was organized by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), Chinese Longzhou Association, Yunnan Province Sports Bureau and Kunming city government, and is considered the world's highest-level dragon boat racing contest.
With two competing adults and seniors divisions, the five-day race challenged participants in both standard and small dragon boats. Racers competed against each other over 200 meters, 500 meters, 1,000 meters and 2,000 meters.
According to Sun Hongkun, deputy director of Kunming authority for culture, radio, TV and sports, Kunming has become a hot spot for dragon boat race meets in recent years, thanks largely to environmental improvements.
"The city's comfortable climate and pristine environment won praise from the IDBF investigation team before the competition," said Sun. "That's why Kunming stood out among many candidate cities to become the venue of the race."
Li Zhimin, an veteran of the 2017 race, who has closely followed the measures taken to improve Kunming's environment, said the water in Dianchi Lake was clearer than he saw several years ago.
Dragon boat races have always been a Yunnan tradition, especially for the province's ethnic groups, Sun noted, with a dragon boat festival taking place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
In September 2016, Dianchi Lake was the fifth stop of the China Longzhou Tournament, which attracted 33 teams from across China and 70,000 visitors, with daily audiences exceeding 30,000.
It was the first time Kunming had hosted so many international athletes. These events will help to develop the city into a crucial pivot point along the Belt and Road, and a hub for transport, cultural exchanges and economic dialogues facing with South and Southeast Asia, Sun said.
Athletes compete at the 13th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, held in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Oct 18. [Photo/xinhuanet.com]
Spectators cheer for the dragon boat racers. [Photo/xinhuanet.com]
The Chinese team appears at the event's opening ceremony. [Photo/xinhuanet.com]