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Fastest growing team water sport comes to Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier Olympic Park (LLOP) will host the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Dragon Boat World Championships September 13-16. This year 1,500 athletes from over 25 countries—including the United States, Japan, and Italy—will compete.

This is the first year the ICF will hold the world championships in North America. LLOP has the longest stretch of flat water in the United States and one of the best competition venues for flatwater sports world-wide.

With its beginnings in Southern China, dragon boating is the fastest growing international team water sport today. Each year, race festivals are held around the world in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada and the United States.

There are two standard size boats: One holds 20 paddlers, a steersman and a drummer, the other holds 10 paddlers, a steersman and a drummer. At least two boats compete against each other over distances from 200 to 2000 meters and above. Strength, endurance and teamwork are the upmost importance.

The race schedule includes:

• September 12, Opening Ceremony and Practice

• September 13, Qualifying Rounds 500M

• September 14, 500M Finals; Qualifying Rounds 200M

• September 15, 200M Finals

• September 16, 2,000M Finals; Closing Ceremony

The sport of dragon boat racing dates back more than 2,000 years. The first participants were Chinese villagers who held races in the belief it would show worship to the dragon, a traditional symbol of water. Today, the sport is fast and exciting with crews of either 10 or 20 paddling to the beat of a drum over a set distance.

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