ABOUT 1,800 people from Malaysia and seven foreign countries will participate in the 27th Penang International Dragon Boat Festival (PIDBF) to be held at the Teluk Bahang Dam this weekend.
PIDBF committee secretary Geh Thuan Tek said there were 27 foreign teams with about 780 participants from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and China.
He said the biggest group was from Australia followed by Singapore with eight teams and China with three teams from Hong Kong and one from the Zhejiang province.
Geh said there were more than 1,000 participants from 27 Malaysian teams from various companies, organisations and academic institutions.
He said 16 of these teams were from Penang while the others were from Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Malacca, Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.
Among the returning teams were two from Australia and one from Putrajaya, all of which consist of breast cancer survivors and sup-porters. The teams are Adelaide Survivors Abreast Inc, the South Aussie Dragons Abreast Club and the Pink Challengers.
“The new events are the Penang International Senior Open and Senior Mixed races for those aged 40 and above while the main event is still the 20-man Penang International Open race for the TYT Challenge Trophy,” said Geh.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon will open the festival at the dam at 9.30am today.
All 33 races from 9am to 6pm tomorrow are heats, while the remaining races from 9am to 6.30pm on Sunday will be semi-finals, repechages and finals.
There will also be a charity food sale by Pacific West Premium Foods in aid of the Children’s Protection Society of Penang from 11am to late afternoon tomorrow and Sunday.
On Sunday, there will be another charity food fair featuring 44 stalls from 9am to 3pm organised by the Bukit Bendera Welfare and Human Development Council.
About 500 children will also take part in an art competition on Sunday morning.