Cairo hosts first ever Chinese dragon boat race
By Zhao Hong

2017-05-23 09:14 GMT+8

By CGTN's Yasser Hakim

Cairo hosted a dragon boat race on the Nile River - the first such activity in Egypt. The Chinese cultural boats have only been in the country for a couple of months, but are already growing in popularity. 

Five teams competed, including those from Egypt, China and Spain. The 300-meter race was divided into three categories, Men, Women and Mixed.

Participants and guests were met with a Chinese cultural show in an atmosphere of festivities.

"I do believe this event will come out with common understanding between the Chinese people and Egyptians. I want to emphasize that dragon boat races need team work plus efforts of individuals. If you put both together you will have an excellent performance," said Son Aiguo, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt.

The competition was tight between the experienced Spanish and Chinese teams. The Spaniards swept the Men's and Mixed races, but the Chinese struck gold in the Women's category by a small margin.

"We are happy to win, the crowd is very good. There was a lot of levels and the race was very tight," noted Joaquin Mendes from the Spanish team.

David Choi from the Chinese team said "I love this country. I first learned about Egypt and the pyramids from textbooks and history lessons. This is my first time in Egypt. I'm really excited about it."

It was a day of competition, fun and bonding between different peoples. But for most though, the aim was not just to win, but also to meet new cultures.

Sayed Gomaa, the coach of the Egyptian team, said that "what is more important is to spread this sport and bring people to join in. Dragon boat can also be used for leisure and fun in the Nile, so people would learn a new culture while enjoying the splendors of the river."

The organizers say they are willing to take the event to a higher level in the near future. They are planning an international marathon to take place in Luxor and Cairo with more than 20 participating countries next October.