This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Wu Chun-Chieh, National Athlete – Chinese-Taipei Dragon Boat Team.
DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE
NAME: Jay/Wu, Chun-Chieh
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
PADDLING SIDE: Left
STATUS: In a relationship
Asian Dragon Boat Championship 2010, China, 2 Silvers – Open, 500m, 200m
Asian Dragon Boat Championship 2012, Thailand, 2 Golds – Mixed, 2000m, 500m
ADBF Asian Dragon Boat Championships, Korea, 2 Golds – DB22 Mixed, 500m, 200m; 2 Silvers – DB12 Mixed, 500m, 200m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Championships 2013, Hungary, 2 Golds – DB12 Mixed, 500m, 200m; Bronze – DB12 Open, 200m
East Asian Games – Dragon Boat 2013, China, 2 Golds – DB22 Open, 500m; DB12 Open, 200m; Silver – DB22 Open, 200m; Silver – DB12 Open, 200m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, Welland, 3 Golds – DB22 Mixed, 1000m; DB12 Open, 2000m, 500m; 2 Bronzes – DB22 Mixed, 2000m, 200m
ADBF Asian Dragon Boat Championships 2016, Adelaide, 4 Golds – DB22 Mixed, 500m, 200m; DB12 Mixed, 500m, 200m
Dragon Boat World Athlete, Wu Chun-Chieh, hails from Hualien, Taiwan. He’s been into canoeing and kayaking before he found his passion and love for dragon boat. This World Athlete loves to watch sports games like NBA, MLB, Canoeing, Swimming, Rowing and a lot more besides.
“Dragon Boat is a very famous sport among the Chinese.”, he said. “It’s a traditional sport that is very significant in our culture.” When Chun-Chieh was only a young boy, he had already witnessed his father racing dragon boats. Later on he learned that the races are being held as part of the Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the on the fifth day of the fifth month (5/5) of the traditional lunar calendar.
When Chun-Chieh was 14 years old, he started to train in canoeing with Mr. CaNoe, a Taiwan-based sports club. In 2011, he decided to join the dragon boat team and since he’s an experienced canoeist, it was not difficult for him to learn and master dragon boat paddling.
We asked him a few questions about his life as a dragon boater, how the Chinese-Taipei Dragon Boat Team prepares for major races and how they rose to the top.
Q: Where does the Chinese-Taipei National Team usually train? How often do you train and do you have night trainings?
A: We do our trainings at Liyu Lake. It’s in Hualien, Taiwan, where I’m from. We train ten times a week, twice a day. Training lasts for about one to two hours. It’s usually morning or afternoon as we don’t have night trainings.
Q: Is Liyu Lake a good location for the National Athletes? How do you (the athletes) travel going to the trainings? How far is it from your place?
A: It’s a good venue for training aside from the occasional motor boats circling around the lake. I always drive to go to our practices and the distance is just about 20km from my place.
Q: How does the selection process in your team happen? Do you conduct National try-outs? Are your athletes picked from the Universities or Clubs or they need to go for the open try-outs?
A: Most of our team members started in Kayaking. We don’t have any special ways in picking team members. I guess it’s safe to say that the only requirement is passion and love for the sport.
Q: What does it take to be a National Athlete?
A: Never give up and have a big goal and ambition. One needs to be very confident on training and during competition. The most important thing is to keep training and practice a lot.
Q: How long do you prepare in competing for the World Championships? What are the preparations? Do you stay in one camp?
A: Four months of preparation. Yes, we train together as a group and we try to keep fit. We stay in one camp when the intensive training season starts.
Q: How do you keep fit? Any tips in keeping a healthy and clean lifestyle?
A: Find someone who loves to exercise and just keep training with them. I try to avoid eating out so I cook for myself.
Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?
A: Adam van Koeverden. He’s a Canadian sprint kayaker. The very first time I saw him on TV was when he became an Olympic champion. He’s the athlete I look up to and admire the most till now.
Photos: Yu-Hsuan Hsieh, Pei Shao, Allie Gau, 周馬耀, Ed Nguyen
*This interview has been edited and condensed