Tue, Jun 26, 2001 - Page 16 News List

Thai dragon boat racers overpower local favorites

CLASS TELLS The rowers from Thailand beat the Center for Chinese Language and Culture, but in the women's competition the university side came out victorious

By Lynn Lee  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Boat crews compete in the finals of the Taipei International Dragon Boat Race Championship yesterday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Despite immense support from the crowds, the local favorites in the 2001 Taipei International Dragon Boat Race placed second against a dominating team from Thailand.

The Center for Chinese Language and Culture (CCLC) had been favored to take the title again, but were outmuscled by the Thais.

The CCLC women's team fared better than their male counterparts, however, taking first place in the women's international division and fourth place overall in the Presidential Cup finals.

Ingrid Jensen, an American serving as the CCLC's captain for her second year, was ecstatic. "It's so fantastic to come back after a setback at Taipei County last weekend and take the international division.

"It's a great feeling. What's even more amazing is that we're a group of women from thirteen different countries, and none of us share the same native language.

"So, to be able to do so well after only five weeks of training, while having to use Chinese to communicate, is great."

In addition to the international division's regular races, the race organizers also arranged a special exhibition race for the international teams to alleviate some of the tension that had developed amongst some of the competitors and the organizers themselves, following a series of miscommunication mishaps during the three-day preliminaries.

Several teams, unable to understand the Chinese announcements, had been forced to forfeit races because they did not know that they were supposed to be competing.

The Presidential Cup finals, featuring the top teams from the eight men's divisions and four women's divisions, was extremely close, with the victors winning by small margins of only a few seconds. In the end, both titles were taken by the men's and women's teams from the Taipei Physical Education College.

Xie Feng-cheng (謝豐丞), a member of the Taipei Physical Education College's men's team said, "After paddling for only two to three years, to be a part of the Presidential Cup championship team ... I'm overjoyed, excited, delighted, exhilarated ... I can't describe it!"

Liu? Kuei-you (劉奎佑), a two-year paddler for the Taipei International Rescue Team that took first place in the men's open division, was pleased with a second place finish in the Presidential Cup finals.

"It's been an extremely tiring day: on the third day of the preliminaries, our flag catcher missed the flag, so even though our team was ahead, we lost that race and was forced into the loser's bracket.

"Thus, today, we had to claw our way back up through the loser's bracket and ended up racing six times before the finals.

"To take second place in the finals despite the long and exhausting day that we've had is in itself still a tremendous victory."

The Taipei City Fire Department team, winners of the men's organization's "A" division, came in third place in the Presidential Cup finals, while the Taipei City Government's Commission for Native Taiwanese Affairs team, winners of the men's organization's "C" division, took fourth place overall.

For the women, the Neihu? District Office team, winners of the women's administrative division, came in second place in the Presidential Cup finals, while the the Taipei City Government's Bureau of Environmental Protection team took third.

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