GEORGE TOWN: After two days of gruelling races, a Thai dragon boat team has been crowned the champion of the Penang International Dragon Boat Regatta 2023, its third win since 2010.
Team Thailand Dragon clocked at 1:32.47 in the 400m race to beat the Philippines’ Canoe, Kayak and Dragon Boat Federation team (1:35.44) and Pacific West Dragon Boat Club (1:36.91) in the International Premier Open category which ended yesterday.
Thai coach Vinya Cseeshomuem said the 14-man team was glad that several months of training had finally paid off.
“We first won the competition in Penang in 2010, followed by a second win in 2019.
“We had set high expectations to return home with a victory and we have done it. The team is proud of our win this year.
“We will return next year and look forward to more challenges,” he said after receiving the First Place Trophy and Challenge Trophy from Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak.
Accompanying Ahmad Fuzi was state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Wong Hon Wai.
Earlier in his speech, Wong said the race was not just a sporting event but a cross-cultural exchange gala.
“Participants from different countries have showcased the charm of dragon boat racing through intense competition and friendly interactions.
“We have witnessed excellent skills, unwavering spirit and committed efforts of each team striving for honour,” he said.
Wong revealed that the date for next year’s race had been tentatively fixed for Nov 23 and 24.
This year’s event saw 60 teams from 14 countries participating, which is larger than the 42 teams from seven countries last year.
A total 1,800 participants took part in five categories this year.