International dragon boat race to be held earlier this year

KOTA KINABALU: The third Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race 2016 will be held in May with a total of RM74,000 cash prize to be won.

The race will be held at Likas Bay on May 21 and 22 from 6am to 1pm.

Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) president cum event chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Dr T.C. Goh said the federation had set a target to attract 120 teams to join the race this year, which was an increase from 117 participating teams last year.

“We have had inquiries from Shanghai and Xiamen (in China), while a team from Foshan have confirmed their participation,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

Meanwhile, organizing chairlady Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen said the federation had decided to bring the dragon boat race forward from June to May for the first time this year with the aim to support the state government’s effort in promoting the tourism industry.

“By holding the race at the end of May, international and domestic contestants will have the opportunity to join and experience the Harvest Festival celebrations in the state.

“This will not only showcase the unique culture of Sabah, but also spur the state’s tourism industry and economy.”

Furthermore, Wong said many international dragon boat races were held in June, thus holding the third Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race at an earlier date would avoid clashes on race days, thereby attracting more participation, especially foreign teams.

“To date, many local, Sarawakian and West Malaysian teams, as well as those from Foshan and Xiamen, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei, and Australia have expressed their interest in joining the race.

“FCAS hopes more foreign teams will take part in the dragon boat race this year and make the event a success.”

The dragon boat race is divided into nine categories, including the coveted Sabah Head of State Trophy for international and top Malaysian men teams (800 metres) that comes with RM10,000 for the champion, RM5,000 for the first runner-up and RM2,000 for the second runner-up.

Other categories are the Sabah Chief Minister Trophy (Malaysian men teams, 800m), Sabah FCAS Dragon Trophy (international and Malaysian mix teams, 800m), FCAS Trophy (United Sabah Chinese Community Associations of Kota Kinabalu constituent members, 800m), FCAS Trophy (Malaysian men team, 800m), FCAS Trophy (mixed teams, 800m), Kinabalu Dragon Trophy (junior teams under 20 years old, 800m), Kinabalu Dragon Trophy (international and Malaysian men teams, 200m) and Kinabalu Dragon Trophy (mixed teams, 200m).

All the winning teams will receive medals as well.

Wong informed that registration for the dragon boat race is now open and the deadline is May 10, 2016.

Participating teams are required to register at Sutera Harbour Marina theatre on May 20 at 8am, followed by race briefing and balloting.

She added that training would begin on April 2 at either Sutera Harbour Marina Club or Gayang.

Similar to the year before, Wong said FCAS would host a Sunset Beach Party to welcome all participating teams at Likas Bay on May 20 at 6pm.

“Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun will be invited to grace the event.”

Heat races for all categories will be held on May 21. Meanwhile, the final race of FCAS Trophy for United Sabah Chinese Community Associations of Kota Kinabalu (USCCA) will be held on the first day of the dragon boat race on May 21 and the winning teams of this category will receive the prizes on the same day.

The final race day will be held on May 22. The Head of State, Tuan Yang Terutama Tun Datuk Seri Panglima (Dr) Haji Juhar Bin Datuk Haji Mahiruddin will be the guest of honour to officiate at the opening ceremony of the race and later give away the prizes to the winners.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman is invited as special guest to witness the opening ceremony of the race. State cabinet ministers, government officials, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Chinese community leaders, FCAS life honorary presidents, honorary advisors, supervisory committee, central committee and members will also be invited to attend the dragon boat race.

On the other hand, the FCAS Women Committee under Datuk Agnes Shim will be holding a guo zong (Chinese dumpling) cooking competition on the final day. Prize presentation to the winners of the competition will be held around 1pm on the same day. The public will also be able to sample a variety of food sold at the stalls at the venue.

For more information, visit www.sabahdragonboat.com, email to fcasinfo@gmail.com or contact FCAS at 088-253433.

Also present at the press conference were event deputy chairman Datuk Jimmy Yong Kyok Ming and event vice chairman Datuk Chua Soon Ping.

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