SINGAPORE - More than 3,000 dragon boaters from all walks of life gathered at the Singapore Boat Quay to compete in the Singapore River Regatta (SRR) 2013, making this one of the largest and most inclusive dragon boat competition for the community.
Graced by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, the finals of the annual dragon boat competition saw the Ministry of Education dragon boat team emerging as the champion of the Public Service Mixed category after competing against the other teams in the two-day event.
Jointly organised by People's Association Water-Venture (PA Water-Venture), the Singapore Dragon Boat Association and the Civil Service Club, the 31st Singapore River Regatta saw a marked increase in registration for the PA GROs category.
This category was introduced last year to bond communities and provide a platform to encourage like-minded residents from different ages, races and estates to forge friendships and improve fitness over this popular traditional water sport.
Benefiting from the introduction of this category is first-time participant the Water Venture BH dragon boat team.
Led by Sullthan Mohamed, 39, youth worker at the Bukit Batok Boys Home, the team made up of staff and boys from Bukit Batok Boys Home got the opportunity to put months of their training to the test.
Sharing his thoughts at the event, Sullthan, who is also a PA Water-Venture trainer said, "I feel happy and fulfilled to be able to coach, motivate and make these boys appreciate the sport of dragon boating. Engaging this group of youths through community sports events such as this not only allows them to develop their athletics abilities but also helps them to build their self-esteem and grow individually".
He added, "Besides having fun, through this experience, they also learnt the importance of working and bonding together as a team. We are truly grateful to PA Water-Venture for giving us this opportunity to compete in the Singapore River Regatta."
Apart from the Water Venture BH dragon boat team, returning participants, Water Venture Deaf Dragons and Silent Dragons also competed in the PA GROs Men category which saw the largest growth with a total of 31 teams participating this year, up from seven in 2012.
"It is encouraging to see so many like-minded residents from different ages, races and estates coming together for the love and passion of the sport," said Mr Ang Hak Seng, BBM, Chief Executive Director of People's Association.
"The growth in numbers across the PA category is a testament to the increasing inclusiveness of our activities and the society. We hope to continue with our efforts to accommodate and facilitate more activities for them to participate in," added Mr Ang.
Sharing Mr Ang's excitement, Dr Lam Pin Min, President of Singapore Dragon Boat Association (SDBA) said, "The Singapore River Regatta is one of the oldest Dragon Boat competition in Singapore that celebrates the achievements Singapore has made in the arena of water sports. It is also a platform for us to further develop sporting excellence in the sport of Dragon Boat by cultivating mass participation."
A total of 106 organisations and clubs competed over the two-day event across 12 different competition categories.