NEARLY 100 participants put their rowing skills to the test as they competed in Bahrain’s first-ever dragon boat race yesterday.
Organised by the Bahrain Rowing and Canoe Centre (BRC), the event was held at Bahrain Bay.
Featured were colourful long boats with ornately carved dragon’s heads at the bows, scales painted on the hulls and paddles resembling claws and tails in the sterns.
Eight 12-member teams that took part in the inaugural Dragon Boat Race were Nasser Pharmacy (Nasser Avengers), Solidarity, Bahreign of Fire, Bahrain Rugby Football Club (BRFC) Jabberwocky, Friends on Wheels, Blue Tiger, Black Dragon and Fil Am Tri Club (Filipino American Triathlon Club) Pinoy Warriors.
Bahreign of Fire won the race followed by Pinoy Warriors and Jabberwocky.
Winners received gifts and vouchers from Nasser Pharmacy, Tamarran and PowerUp while all teams were presented with certificates of participation.
Organisers hoped the event would help promote rowing in Bahrain and draw events and world-class regattas to the kingdom.
“We want to make Bahrain a hub for such sporting events and hopefully in the future bid for the Arab Rowing Championships and Asian Games,” a spokesman told the GDN.
A campaign will be conducted to identify individuals to build an Olympic Team for rowing, dragon boat racing and canoeing, he added.
“We are working closely with the Economic Development Board and Bahrain tourism officials on this.”
The second Dragon Boat Race will be held next month, to mark the Chinese New Year.
Philippines Ambassador Alfonso Ver expressed his support to the event which included a number of Filipino participants.
“This is a very natural sport for Bahrain and the Philippines because we are both island-nations,” he told the GDN.
“Hopefully, this will popularise the sport and prepare locals to compete in the GCC and internationally.
“The Filipino community has been practising for a month for this event.”
A participant from Fil-Am Tri Club (Filipino-American Triathlon Club) said he was excited to be taking part in the race.
“I am already looking forward to next event in February,” said 29-year-old Michael Faminial.
“We have been practising for two months for this race.”
Another contestants said the event was a great way to socialise.
“This is a good team-building activity for colleagues to work together and socialise,” said Nasser Pharmacy pharmaceutical purchasing and training manager Huda Abu Hamdia, aged 44.
“You have to be synchronised and perform together.
“It’s not about winning but having fun and being a team.”
The event was co-sponsored by Tamarran, an app for booking events, and PowerUp, a sport magazine.