Dragon Boat Racing at Xiamen University

Every year in the 5th day of the 5th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, Dragon Boat Festival (Duānwǔ jié 端午节) is celebrated in China, with activities honoring ancient poets and important philosophers. Traditional foods, such as sticky rice dumplings (Zòngzi 粽子) are served and are also an important part of the celebration. The Xiamen University Dragon Boat Club is a sports club that organizes boat racing training for students. Our Alumni, Renatto Aguilar, was an active member of this club during his time as a student at Xiamen University. We interviewed him to find out more about the club and about how it celebrated Dragon Boat Festival.
 
 
* Tell us more about Xiamen University’s Dragon Boat Club:
A. The Dragon boat Club is one of the biggest associations in XMU and every year it welcomes new students to join the team and join the annual competition.
 
*When do you guys start preparation for the competition?
A. At the beginning of the summer semester the team starts training for the big competition that takes place during the Dragon Boat festival in the late spring of the next year.
 
*Can you tell us more about the training?
A. The trainings are quite exhausting, especially at the beginning. They include strength and endurance exercises. Some of the members who start the training quit the team halfway through; most of them find the trainings a bit too hard. At the beginning, the trainings are 3 to 4 times a week and they increase in frequency and intensity as we get close to competition day. By the end of April-beginning of May, we were training every day. Mainly, we train in the gym, in the soccer field and of course in the lake. The trainings are scheduled according to the students’ availability; most of the trainings are at night.
 
 
*How many members are in the Dragon Boat club?
A. There is a male team and a female team, in each one of them there are approximately 30 members including 20 rowers, the drummer, who is the guy who controls the boat, and some back-ups.
 
*Are you the only foreign member in the Dragon Boat club?
A. No. There are people from different countries, such as Poland, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Ecuador, Mongolia, Thailand, Taiwan and, of course, China.
 
*Where and when does the competition take place?
A. The competition takes place at Jimei district, this year it was on May 28th and 29th, and in total there were more than 50 teams, local and international. There are two categories, 200 meters and 500 meters. The first day was classification day and the final was on Sunday 29th. This year the Xiamen University male team claimed 6th position in the 500 meters category and 7th in the 200 meters category.
 
*Does Xiamen University’s Dragon Boat Association organize any other activities?
A.  During the year of training, there are some extra activities organized by the Dragon Boat team, like hiking, camping, cycling, barbeques, so, besides the training, we have the chance to meet new friends and learn more about China’s lifestyle. From my point of view, it is a nice way to get into Chinese culture.
 
 
 
By Marco Daccarett - Student Assistant
Master of Economics in International Trade
  

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