Mon, Jun 25, 2001 - Page 16 News List

Dragon boat races are go

By Lynn Lee  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Despite fears that Typhoon Chebi would disrupt the races, the 2001 Taipei International Dragon Boat Race Championship went off without a hitch.

With roughly 105 teams competing in eleven divisions, the three days of preliminaries have yielded numerous electrifying races.

In the men's open division, the Hsintien City Administrative Office team -- the winners of last year's Presidential Cup -- are currently sitting in pole position after their narrow 0.96-second victory against the Hsintien City Dragon Boat team.

In the women's open division, the Taipei Physical Education College team currently holds the top spot. The top teams in the open divisions, which are the largest divisions, are usually the strongest contenders for the Presidential Cup.

As the competition is double-elimination, teams sitting at the top of the winner's bracket are at an advantage, as the only team that can displace them has to first work their way up through the loser's bracket, and then defeat the team in the winner's bracket twice.

In the men's international division, Thailand and the Phoenix Sister Cities Connection are competing for the top spot.

As in previous years, communication problems have plagued the teams in this division as all announcements are made in Chinese.

Several teams, including two Japanese teams, the Aqua Fortis Dragon Boat Rowing team from the Philippines, and a team from Hawaii, have had to forfeit a race at some point during the three-day preliminaries because they didn't realize it was time for their team to report to the docks.

For some teams in the international division, the races are already over. Janie Moor from England, who is serving as captain of the Taipei Language Institute team for her second year and participating for her third, was happy with her team's fifth place finish.

"The team really came together in their last couple of races, and I'm pleased with their performance-this is the best result we've had in years. The camaraderie was just brilliant."

Other teams, such as the Center for Chinese Language and Culture's men's team, continue to fight their way up through the loser's bracket.

Steven Blessing from the US and the captain of this year's team said his boat's chances were pretty good. "The team has performed admirably despite running into several setbacks, including members becoming sick with colds, fever, food poisoning, and the like following our competition last weekend at Bitan.

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