Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon boat racing is a team paddling sport wherein the participants use a dragon boat. A dragon boat is a human-powered water vehicle; they were made in the southern Guangdong Province in China.

This sport originated in ancient folk rituals of contending villagers, it has been held for around 2000 years in the south part of China. In dragon boat racing competitions, the dragon boats are rigged with Chinese dragon heads and tails. In some competitions, the decorative designs are removed, but the drums remain. Dragon boat racing is practiced around East Asia and Southeast Asia.

The crew of a dragon boat team comprises of 22 members, 20 paddlers, 1 drummer, and 1 steerer. Dragon boat competitions in the international level are usually organized by the International Dragon Boat Federation. A race is most of the time a sprint event. The most common distances are 200, 500, 1000, and 2000 meters. The races for a 2000-meter race are usually held on a 500-meter course.

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