The Independence Day Dragon Boat Regatta held in the Gulf of Paria was a pleasant spectacle, with more than ten teams championing the cause to uplift the family, health and physical fitness in San Fernando. Several dragon boat enthusiasts converged from as early as 10 am at the San Fernando Yacht Club with boats of various designs participating in the event.
T&T Dragon Boat Federation President Keith Dalip said the turnout could have been better given the time it was planned, adding: “We suffered a bit of a causality because of the timing of the event, but Independence Day is earmarked for this event and in the future teams will be better aware. With the vacation children go off and don’t train as regularly. Next year they will be more prepared.”
San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said it is his intention to provide a platform for the event organised by Dalip to make it an annual one. Pledging financial support, Regrello said it was events like these that bring families together, allowing them to bond in a safe environment.
President of the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce Kiran Singh also supported the event and endorsed Regrello’s sentiments, and said: “The event will engender and bring more activity to San Fernando. Normally, dragon boat racing happens in the Port-of-Spain and Chagaramas area. But, this will bring back more business to San Fernando and more activity to the youths. Youths need guidance, and these sort of sports engenders discipline and strong family values.”
While saying that he had high expectations that dragon boat racing would benefit young people, Singh said it was critical, not to mention inevitable, that the event is based and branded for San Fernando, and is a combination of a dream to open new doors for the growth of dragon boat racing in T&T.
A number of schools at which dragon boat racing is popular participated, including Queens Royal College and Bishop Anstey High School from the north; Hillview College and St Joseph’s College, from the east; and South’s Presentation College. Among the schools, Presentation College was victorious.
Adult teams on the water included Dragonfly, Aquaholics and Titans. (Innis Francis)