Across China: German expats test the waters at dragon boat race in east China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 08, 2024
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NANCHANG, June 8 (Xinhua) -- To the delight of cheering onlookers and against the rhythmic beat of drums, dragon boat crews could be seen paddling in sync to win the 2024 Nanchang International Dragon Boat Race last week.

Tim Achstetter competed on a German team and experienced the unique atmosphere of the dragon boat race, one of the most important traditions of the Dragon Boat Festival, which will be celebrated on June 10 this year.

The international race took place from June 1 to 2 in Nanchang, the capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, attracting over 1,200 participants across 40 teams from countries such as China, Russia, Germany and Malaysia.

"This is the first time I participated in the dragon boat racing. I'm very excited and it's all very new to me," Achstetter said. "It's a great way to get to know the culture and people, while participating in races around China."

Achstetter has been working in Shanghai for five months. And just two months ago, he joined the Shanghai-based, German-led Teutons Dragon Boat Team.

Since 2005, the Teutons team has been participating in dragon boat races across China. "For this competition, we carried out two months of intensive training. Our players received training on the water once a week and other technical training on the weekend," said Andreas Willms, the team's founder.

"Dragon boat racing is a competition sport, so we do our best. The most important thing is that we work hard together as a team and have fun in this game," Willms said.

The origin of dragon boat racing dates back to the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.), and it was then introduced to neighboring countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. In 2011, dragon boat racing was listed as a form of national intangible cultural heritage.

Dragon boat racing is more than just a sports competition; it represents people's aspirations for better lives and has cultural connotations of unity, cooperation and progress, said Xiong Qingfeng, deputy director of the Nanchang Administration of Sport.

"Through the international event, participants can also experience the local culture and customs," Xiong said.

"After coming here, I found that each province has different dialects, different culture and different food. For me, what is exciting is the variety," Achstetter said, adding that he has fallen in love with the spicy dishes of Nanchang. Enditem

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