Tag Archives: dragon boat

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns for 24th annual celebration


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of HKDBF

Chinese celebrations are coming to Queens for the 24th Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York.

The event will begin on Aug. 9 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park with a Chinese ensemble of musicians playing ancient and modern music  at 10:30 a.m. The event is named after the main attraction that involves over 180 teams, 2,250 participants, on boats with a dragon head on them racing each other across the Meadow Lake. The event is divided into the 250 and 500 meter race. The teams compete for cash prizes and other trophies. The festival is completely free and will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The tradition of dragon boat racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the poet and reformer Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the third century B.C. as a form of protest. To prevent fish and water dragons from eating his body, the locals beat their drums and splashed their paddles.

The rest of the weekend will be filled with performances like the shaolin warriors. Masters and students of Shaolin Kung Fu Center headquartered in Flushing will demonstrate their ancient skills.

Across the country, similar dragon boat races will be held to celebrate the fifth moon of the lunar calendar, according to the event’s organizers.

For more information, visit www.hkdbf-ny.org.


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Breast cancer survivors create dragon boat racing team to raise funds


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Paddle for the Cure Dragon Boat Club


A new Queens-based dragon boat racing team is hoping to beat breast cancer by paddling.

The Paddle for the Cure Dragon Boat Club, a group comprised mostly of breast cancer survivors from the borough, is training in the World’s Fair Marina for competitions this year to support cancer research, while creating bonds with others who bested the disease.

The group, which is partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, formed last year after breast cancer survivor Leah Salmorin reached out to trainer James Ma during a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure fundraising event.

Dragon boat racing is an effective remedy for breast cancer survivors, because contrary to the prior belief that after surgery people shouldn’t exercise, the paddling helps women regain strength in their arms, according to Ma. Also, dragon boat racing is a fun sport that gives women a chance to interact and trade stories instead of exercising in a boring gym area.

“From experience working with them, they usually gravitate towards the sport and try to regain control of their lives after cancer,” said Ma, now president and coach of the club. “Each time they paddle, the race is already won as they enrich their lives by gaining strength and dignity.”

The club began weekly Saturday morning practices in May, hoping to compete in races in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Florida later this year.

They are collecting donations through events for equipment, and 20 percent of the funds raised will go to the New York City affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The team will hold a bowling fundraising event on August 26 at Bowlmor Lanes in Manhattan that is open to everyone.

The club is run “by survivors for survivors,” but the group is open to anyone who would like to participate.

When Rockaway Beach resident Kelly Kelley, who beat breast cancer in 2007, received an email about the team, she felt it might be a refreshing experience to give it a try.

A tennis coach at The Mary Louise Academy in Jamaica, Kelley said she thought it would be a great fit because she likes sports and water.

And although drills were difficult for the women when she first started, she reminded her teammates that they beat cancer and can stand up against anything.

“We are a new team, we are new to the sport, so we have to work hard if we want to progress,” Kelley said. “I tell the other women, ‘Listen, it’s not worse than chemotherapy.’”

 

 

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| mchan@queenscourier.com

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