Hong Kong team takes part in Hong Kong-Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival (with photos)

     A team of 22 young athletes from Hong Kong participated in the Hong Kong-Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival for the first time and won the second place in the USTA Net Generation College Cup. The two-day festival was held on September 23 and 24 (San Francisco time) at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

     Organised by the California Dragon Boat Association, this year's festival celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). More than 120 teams from around the globe took part in this year's festival, making it the largest competitive dragon boat festival in the United States.

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (ETO) in San Francisco has been supporting the festival for many years. "We are particularly proud to be the title sponsor of this year's festival," said the ETO's Director, Mr Ivanhoe Chang. "As Hong Kong celebrates the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, our office is presenting special events throughout the western part of the United States. We are excited to include this signature sports event as part of the celebration and welcome a dragon boat team from Hong Kong to join in the races at Lake Merritt for the first time."

     Other than taking part in the races, the Hong Kong team had the opportunity to mingle and network with local youths and college students who participated in the festival.

     "Dragon boat racing has a long tradition in Hong Kong, with the first international races held more than 40 years ago. This past June, over 5 000 passionate paddlers from around the world competed at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival at the iconic Victoria Harbour. Spectators also enjoyed music and live entertainment at the waterfront.  We welcome you to Hong Kong to participate in one of the races and enjoy the festive atmosphere," said Mr Chang.

     Mr Chang said that sports development is a priority of the HKSAR Government. Hong Kong is building a large scale sports park at the site of the former airport in the city center. A variety of international sporting events are held throughout the year, from marathons and equestrian events to rugby and regattas.

     "Hong Kong athletes have also excelled and won many medals in various sports at top-tier international events, under its own 'Hong Kong, China' team, which reflects its unique status under the 'one country, two systems' principle", added Mr Chang.

     At the festival at Lake Merritt, the Hong Kong Booth was a key attraction. Souvenirs were given out to the public while they learnt about different aspects of Hong Kong culture. Exhibition panels based on the HKSAR's 20th anniversary were on display for paddlers and spectators and a team of youth ambassadors from Hong Kong explained the latest developments of Hong Kong to visitors.

     In addition to dragon boat racing, the two-day event also featured a full scale family festival with a variety of cultural arts performances and family-friendly activities.

Ends/Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 8:27