This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Nutcharat Chimbanrai, National Athlete – Thailand Dragon Boat Team.
DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE
NAME: Nutcharat Chimbanrai นุจเรศ ฉิมบ้านไร่
BIRTHPLACE: Samutprakarn, Thailand
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Part-time
PADDLING SIDE: Left
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, Gold – Women, 200m
IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships 2015, Gold – Women, 500m
Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) 2015, Silver – Women 12, 200m
Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) 2015, Gold – Women 12, 500m
Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) 2015, Gold – Women 6, 200m
Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) 2015, Gold – Women 6, 500m
Nutcharat Chimbanrai, our featured Dragon Boat World Athlete from Thailand, has been doing dragon boat for 12 years now. She was part of the team called: “2550”; her very first dragon boat team. In Thailand, when you are from 2550, it means that you belong to one of the strongest teams and then you are likely to be considered for the National Team.
“We live near the river”, she said. “Most of my life, I would say, it’s either I’m in the water or in the boat. As I grow up, I would always watch the annual boat race near our house as part of a tradition. I guess that’s where my love for dragon boat racing all began. My first dragon boat race was with 2550 and then I was selected to compete in the Southeast Asian Games 2007 held here in Thailand.”
Let’s get to know more about Nutcharat (or Nut for short) and her dragon boat journey. You’ll be surprised to know her take on what’s an “ultimate goal” really is in dragon boat.
Q: It’s tough to qualify for Thailand Dragon Boat Team. Aside from experience and a certain fitness level that one must possess, can you simply describe it in two words?
A: Strength. Endurance.
Q: Where do you practice in Thailand? How many times in a week does Thailand National team practice? How many hours in one day?
A: We practice in Siam Country Club in Chonburi. Sometimes we hold trainings in the reservoirs, rivers or canals at the Chaiya District. There is no definite training schedule; it varies on what needs to be done or improved.
Q: What are the benefits of being a National Athlete?
A: I have found love and great friends in my dragon boat team. They are like my family. I have learned about the importance of teamwork.
Q: How big is the Team Thailand now? How many men? How many women?
A: There are 26 men and 26 women. It’s equal in number.
Q: As a seasoned National Athlete, what does the sport of dragon boat mean to you?
A: The traditional boat race for me means to demonstrate unity.
Q: You have already won medals in the Southeast Asian Games and World Dragon Boat Racing Championships, what is your ultimate goal in your dragon boating career?
A: We play sports like dragon boat because we love doing it. The awards and medals are only a small part of it. Yes, you will strive to be the best but in so doing, loving and enjoying the sport is already an ultimate goal achieved.
Q: Outside of Dragon Boat, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?
A: Buakaw Banchamek. He’s a Muay Thai Kickboxing Champion. While I have no intentions of learning this sport, I do admire him for his focus and motivation. He doesn’t succumb to any obstacles.
*This interview has been edited and condensed
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