Watch: Pan Am Federation to host 'Extreme' Dragon Boat Championship
Touted as the first of its kind in the world, the Pan American Dragon Boat Federation in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Dragon Boat Federation, will host the Pan American Club Crew Championship that will be held from March 22 to 24 at the picturesque Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Tobago.
Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, March 12 at Olympic House in Port of Spain, President of the Pan American Dragon Boat Federation, Franco Siu Chong said the federation was formed in 2013 and is now a part of the International Dragon Boat Federation. Canada, United States of America, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago are members. The first edition of the Pan American Championship was held in the USA in 2013.
Dragon Boat racing around the world is held in flat water conditions, which does not exist in Trinidad and Tobago. Due to the water conditions in Pigeon Point, this year’s event will be termed “Extreme” with paddlers having to use their experience and skill to combat the rougher than normal waters. New re-modelled 1st generation 10-person ocean boats were specially made for this championship. The boats are equipped with extra flotation, an open stern for self-draining, a centreboard that can be raised and lowered at will, a stern that maintains the width of the centre for extra stability and a bilge pump to evacuate water if it gets into the hull.
Franco Siu Chong sees this as a niche sport tourism product. Over 1,000 athletes and support staff have registered for the championship with over 400 being accommodated at the Magdalena Grand, official partner of the championship. General Manager of the Magdalena Grand, Vinod Bajaj, expressed his jubilation that such an event is being held in Tobago.
“We have all the amenities...one of the best things we have is the staff, our team is one of the best of the best, they work very hard and are excited about this event”.
“The hotel will offer the entertainment almost every night at our bars and restaurants and all the other places, plus the other amenities... recreation will be there, the golf, the tennis...”
Excellent Stores is the Platinum Level Sponsor of the event. Director, Marketing and E-commerce of Excellent Stores, Lisa Siu Chong said, “We see the intangible benefits in terms of helping the youth get off the street, it isn’t a sport that discriminates against anything really, race, socio-economic status, even athletic ability, there’s even teams for cancer survivors, the blind and then you have the premiere athletes as well, so it really covers all echelons of the population and we’ve seen that happen in Trinidad and Tobago where it covers every sort of demographic...
The championship promises to be extremely competitive with 40 clubs having registered. There will be seven clubs from Canada, five clubs from Panama, 10 clubs from the USA, and 18 clubs from Trinidad and Tobago.