Dragon Boat World Athlete: Passion and Love Required

This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Wu Chun-Chieh, National Athlete – Chinese-Taipei Dragon Boat Team.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh

DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE

NAME: Jay/Wu, Chun-Chieh
BIRTHPLACE: Hualien,Taiwan
AGE: 27yo
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
POSITION: Paddler
PADDLING SIDE: Left
HEIGHT: 171cm
WEIGHT: 74kg
STATUS: In a relationship

MEDAL RECORD:
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.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh

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.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh

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.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh
Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh

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.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh

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.

Dragon Boat World Athlete Wu Chun-Chieh

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

 
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On Winning and Losing

“On Winning and Losing” an inspiring story by Jen Macapagal. Thank you for all the positive reinforcements you would deploy to always keep us motivated in our pursuit of goal achievement. Mabuhay ka!

 

Jen is a Dragon Boater, Triathlete, Poet, Creative Writer, Photographer & Graphic Designer.
Follow Jen on Twitter: @jenmacapagal

 
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Our Two-wheeled Gladiator

Nusajaya International Triathlon

Nusajaya International Triathlon

Nusajaya International Triathlon

She’s fierce. No doubt about it. She’s physically strong. Certainly no question about that, too.

Kristine Moyco Gumabay, Tin, KapTin, Kapitana, Chomi, or perhaps to some of us, Chomi Lee Jones.

I want to share with you her other side of fierceness and her amazing strength of character. We have been a sister-brother tandem for more than four years now and have worked together, too, in helping run and administer our dragon boat team for three years in a row, until we assumed the highest (and most difficult) posts in the team as President & Team Captain and Women’s Team Captain.

Good Girl

Through the years past, I have known Tin to be intuitive, goal-oriented and impartial. We have a lot of things in common as well. We’re both Ilonggos and both studied in Catholic schools. She’s still practicing and she always prays–every day and every night. As for me, I just pray and meditate. Period. She’s also a cool big sis to Karla (Guapa girl) and a loving daughter to very supportive parents (Tita Myrna & Tito Oscar) whom I have met and dined with.

Simple Woman

When we’re not paddling or running, we both share and find joy in simple things like: piaya (a Bacolod City delicacy), copi at Hawker centres, bread (any bread), waffles, bananas, chewy junior, pho at Nam-nam, chats at MRT stations, et cetera. And while sports would sometimes limit us physically, it is good that we have each other to talk, share and take each other’s advice to remedy our minor physical pains and injuries. Oh, yes, we go to the same Osteopathy Centre.

Dragon Lady

This year, she finally focused on her triathlon dreams and I, on the other hand, was catapulted to a national post in dragon boating. With our busy schedules (aside from our real jobs), we still continue to offer help and support to our beloved dragon boat team; and we are indeed grateful to our experienced successors who are so focused and so patient with the administration, special projects facilitation and most of all, the training tasks. Well done, Kapitana Mickee, Kap Jaz, Kap Jen, Kap Marian, Kap Kel, IDBC & FilCom Rep Paul and the rest of the committee officers. Salute!

Tin-Factor

In 2013, I was happy to have joined and supported Kristine at the Nusajaya International Triathlon at Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, Malaysia. It was my first time to watch a (serious) Triathlon race and I really enjoyed it. As a supporter, you can actually feel, very strongly, the high spirits and aggression of the athletes. You become one with their aspirations. You cheer, you worry a bit, you cheer again and again and again, until you cry. I did. I just wish I can always tag along and support her and all my triathlete friends in all their races. Trust me, our support really means a lot to them.

Just recently, Tin finished and championed her own timing in the IRONMAN 70.3 Cebu in Cebu City, Philippines. This two-wheeled gladiator is coming back to Cebu next year, and this time, she will take part in the Coed Relay race category with Australia-based swimmer Joseph Tan and Singapore-based runner Lino Arboleda. Hey Cebu! Watch out for #sephlintinskins!

Cheerleader

This forthcoming 16th November 2014, she will be representing the BBTri Team in IRONMAN 70.3 Ballarat, in Ballarat, Australia. She’s joining our other friends: Cunning Colin, Athletic Aleah, Kinetic Karen and Jazzy Jix. Tin has been my cheerleader as I am to her, and, on a personal note, I want to wish her a fun, happy, powerful and safe 70.3 Ballarat journey. We will be tracking your progressions, while silently praying and loudly cheering for you!

On a final note – Tin is not only a kind, respectful little sister to me but also one of my fitness inspirations. She’s an athlete and she was simply born that way—inspiring.

 

Images: Nurain Binti Wahab (I met Nur in Nusajaya. She was documenting her husband’s triathlon race through her DSLR and while the swim leg is ongoing, we had a good chat by the harbour. “Don’t worry, just tell me when your wife is coming and I will take photos of her and send to you.”, she sweetly offered. “Oh, she’s my sister. Terima kasih!”)

Aspiration

As for the graceful gymnast who broke an ankle;
Curtains down, her star forfeits its twinkle.

The enthusiastic runner with injured kneecap,
His road to finish may be up.

A Myna bird with fractured wing,
Gone are its moments of soaring.

For an archer who impaired his eyesight,
Aiming for the target is such a fright.

The dragon boat paddler with dislocated shoulder,
His cheers for his team only become louder.

Heal. Get up. Aspire. Again.

The gymnast flexes and jumps.
The runner prevails over the hump.

The Myna bird flies to explore.
The archer hits bull’s-eye once more.

The paddler sits back on the boat and play like before.

 
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8 Types of Dragon Boats You See at Races
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