Sun, Jun 17, 2001 - Page 16 News List

Dragon boat races begin

TAIPEI COMPETITION Terrible conditions failed to disrupt the start of this year's dragon boat races in Hsintien, which have seen a record number of entrants

By Lynn Lee  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Torrential showers, thunder, and lightning dominated race conditions at the Ninth Annual Taipei County Congressional Cup Dragon Boat Race Championships held yesterday at Bitan in Hsintien, Taipei.

Despite the unforgiving conditions almost seventy teams competed in seven divisions.

"We will not halt the competition because of adverse weather conditions, unless there is a danger to the participants" Fung Chien-tang (馮建堂), the head referee for the Congressional Cup races said.

"Only if the lightning starts to move in extremely close to the river will we stop the races."

Huang Hsiu-li (黃秀理), who captains the Hsintien Rescue team, had another perspective on the conditions, however, and said the conditions added to the excitement of taking part.

Huang's team, which came first in the mixed team division last year, was confident of her team's chances of reclaiming the title again this year and currently holds the top spot.

"We've been training intensively, seven days a week for over a month now," she said.

The fiercest competition so far has been in the men's societal division, with 18 teams.

So far, the top teams include the San-fa Automobile Company Dragon Boat team,? the Taipei City International Rescue team, the Aboriginal Ami team, and the Hsintien City Dragon Boat team.

In the men's administrative division, the team to catch is the Hsintien City Administrative Office, which won the Presidential Cup last year in the 2000 Taipei International Dragon Boat Race Championships.

In the men's school division, the Fu Jen Catholic University "Flying Dragons" currently hold the top spot, while in the organizations division the Taipei County Fire Department is the top contender.

In the women's competition, the Hsintien Community Representative team and the Lo Ming-tsai Office team are the teams to catch.

Because of the large number of teams participating in this year's races, the competition's format has changed, with the incorporation of an elimination round. Teams that make it past the elimination round continue on into the regular race format.

The Taipei County dragon boat races continue today.

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