Dragon boat race through the eyes of expats


The annual Jinji Lake International Dragon Boats Race is to kick off next Monday (June 14).


pic@WeChat ID:sipacnc


As one of the customs during the Dragon Boat Festival, dragon boat race could date back to the Period of Warring States (475-221 BC). With its growing popularity, the ancient dragon boat race has become a worldwide sport.


A total of 63 teams will race against each other this year, including eight foreign teams made up of expatriates staying in Suzhou and Jiangsu province.


pic@WeChat ID:sipacnc


Currently, all teams are in one-month training at the training center. iSuzhou took this opportunity to interview two powerful foreign teams: Team Bainiangzi (白娘子队) and Mini House International Vipers (MINI餐吧队).


Team Bainiangzi



Andrea (first from right), pic@WeChat ID:sipacnc

Founded in 2012, Team Bainiangzi has participated in the Jinji Lake International Dragon Boats Race for nine consecutive years.
Andrea comes from Germany. When she first came to Suzhou, her friend Sonya, also the captain of Team Bainiangzi, recommended this sport to her, and she felt the unique charm of dragon boats immediately.


“This sport requires excellent teamwork. Only every rower works together can we win.”A total of 19 members from Team Bainiangzi will participate in this year’s game. They come from  Switzerland, UK, Spain, Sweden, and many other countries.


They need to cooperate very well to contest the game, which requires long-time training.


And for the goal this year, Andrea says they would like to win for sure, but at least they want to be better then last year's. They ranked fourth in the 12-person Small Dragon Boat Women’s 300m Race last year.

Since lots of members are unable to return to Suzhou because of the pandemic, the group wishes to recruit new members and feel the charm of dragon boats together.



Mini House International Vipers


pic@WeChat ID:sipacnc


For Scott, the captain of Mini House International Vipers, dragon boat race is the best team sport.


Captain Soctt (second row, third from left), pic@Mini House International Vipers


Scott comes from Scotland, where there is also a dragon boat racing game. Before the pandemic, the local ran the dragon boat race in September. His ambition is to take the team to his hometown one day and participate in the game.


pic@Mini House International Vipers


Speaking of hometown, Scott says he sees Suzhou as his home now. He came to Suzhou in 2006 and started to live here permanently in 2009. In a sense, he is an authentic local resident in Suzhou.


pic@Mini House International Vipers


The team has been training since March in preparation for the game. Most of its members participated in last year’s race. When it comes to the difficulties during training, Scott says the hardest part is get all team members together at the same time to hone our individual rowing skills and fine tune our team strategy. 


As to the result, Scott says their goal is to get to the final at least and hopefully finish in the top three.

Jinji Lake International Dragon Boats Race will take place next Monday. Let’s wish each team a good result!

Source: iSuzhou