Taipei Mayor (
"The dragon is always associated with water and wind. Since we are all longing for rain, the dragon's emergence offers us the best chance [for an end to the drought]," Ma said.
Ma made the comments at a press conference yesterday to launch festivities surrounding the annual race, which runs this year between June 14 and June 16.
This year's competition boasts a record 100 teams, which will compete in international, national or exhibition races, organizers said.
Wang A-you (王阿幼), a member of the Taipei City Hall Volunteers team, said her experience practicing for the exhibition race has given her a sense of fulfillment.
"It's our chance to represent the city government. It's very meaningful," Wang said, who has volunteered at the city hall information desk for five years. "We should try as many things as we can in this life. I want to create good memories."
Though she's never raced before, Wang was eager to offer tips to other first-time paddlers. "Pull deep and pull long to win," she said.
In the international division, Thailand will be returning this year, looking to defend its title in the men's race. But the Thais, whose strong technique comes from paddling the ceremonial boats for the country's King during festivals and holidays, can expect stiff competition from two US teams this year, as well as teams from the Philippines and South Africa.
There are also several locally based international teams registered in the division, including a joint Australian and New Zealand trade offices team as well as Cantai, a team of Canadian expats.
As for his own team, the mayor said, "We hope our team will do what we did last year -- at least as good as third." Ma is the drummer for the Taipei City Government's men's team.
The 2002 Taipei International Dragon Boat Race Championship will be held at the Tachia section of the Keelung River beneath the Tachih Bridge between June 14 and June 16.
For more information, call (02) 2725-6391.
Chiayi County - Date: June 14-15
Contact: (03) 373-2201
Changhua County - Date: June 13-15
Contact: (04) 7746-674
Hsinchu City - Date: June 14-15
Contact: (03) 531-9756
Ilan County - Date: June 14-15
Contact: (03) 936-4567 ext. 1441
Kaohsiung City - Date: June 13-15
Contact: (07) 723-2751 ext. 83
Kaohsiung County - Date: June 15-16
Contact: (07) 641-2511 ext. 33
Miaoli County - Date: June 14-15
Contact: (037) 322-150
Pingtung County - Date: June 15-16
Contact: (08) 732-0415
Taoyuan County - Date: June 15-16
Contact: (03) 479-1654
Tainan City - Date: June 15-16
Contact: (06) 299-1111 ext. 8320
Tainan County - Date: June 14-15
Contact: (06) 786-2035
Taipei County - Date: June 15-16
Contact: (02) 2915-7788
Taitung County - Date: June 15-16
Contact: (089) 355-100
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