A report on London Dragon Boat Festival 2017
By Mr Yiyan Liu
On 25th June 2017, HKIE Flying Dragon along with other 43 teams boarded the long, thin, canoe-like boats in groups to race in the 22nd London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at the London Regatta Centre. The festival was organised by The London Chinatown Lions Club and sponsored by The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) London. In addition to raising fund for London Chinese charities, this year, it also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. There were also good entertainment and variety of food for the large crowd of visitors of different nationalities, young and old
The Flying Dragon team, captained by Yiyan Liu, comprises young engineers from TfL (Transport for London), CH2M, Balfour Beatty, Mott MacDonald, High Speed 2 and engineering students. Most of the team members were new to dragon boating. They only had one practice run before the race. Apart from racing, this festival also provided opportunities for team members to share experience from different disciplines and promote HKIE’s presence in the UK.
At 10:00am, Flying Dragon started to board the boat for the first heat. As soon as the team started paddling, the boat wobbled a lot. For the first heat, it only finished 3rd out of 4 teams, which put the team under tremendous pressure to make it to the semi-final. During debriefing, the team realised that, although individuals were giving their best, the team were not paddling in harmony. Seating was re-arranged, putting the more experienced paddlers in the front, so the following paddlers could have correct reference. With more experience in the boat, the results soon improved and it finished 6th in the group stage, 2nd in the semi-final and made it all the way to the final, where eight teams competed. Despite high temperature and tiredness, but hugely encouraged by the live cheering and support from HKIE UK Chapter Committee members, Flying Dragon secured the first runner-up in the final, and was only 0.51 second behind the winning team, Windy Panda.
The team performed extraordinarily well in the competition, and certainly demonstrated who we represented and showed the spirit of young engineers. When receiving the trophy and medals from the Director-General of (HKETO) London, Ms Priscilla To, the big smile on each team member’s face was certainly the testimony of recognition of the team efforts. We will be back next year for the Champion.