Celebrating the Extraordinary

Brunei SEA Games Cambodia SEA Games Indonesia SEA Games Laos SEA Games Malaysia SEA Games Myanmar SEA Games Philippines SEA Games Singapore SEA Games Thailand SEA Games Timor Leste SEA Games Vietnam SEA Games

The 28th Southeast Asian Games 2015 (SEA Games) is only three months away; and this year’s theme is: “Celebrate the Extraordinary.” SEA Games’ opening ceremonies will be on 5th June 2015 and 16th June 2015 will be the closing ceremonies. The actual games will start from 29th June 2015, and medal ceremonies for some of the sports will be until 16th of June, the closing day. Refer to the complete competition schedule here.

This year is Singapore’s 50th celebration of independence from Malaysia. Dubbed as SG50, it is only appropriate that this beautiful island country hosts the SEA Games; the last time it hosted the games was twenty two years ago in 1993. It will be participated by eleven nations namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

What is SG50? As the committee poignantly describes, “It represents the little red dot that we’ve come to know as home. The logo celebrates the Singaporean spirit – signifying that our dreams are not limited by the physical size of our island nation.” Kudos to the one who put these words together; it’s simple yet very powerful. Visit SG50 for more exciting events and activities lined-up for the entire year.

The new generation of Singaporeans are generally sports and fitness savvy and I think it has become such an invigoratingly infectious environment that even those (at least most people I know) who are now living and working in Singapore are relatively more sporty and extra health conscious, which is a good thing. It is evident, too, in the massive participation, from both the locals and the foreign workers, in all small to big-scale marathons, dragon boat races, triathlons, and cycling events in the country, all year round.

Undeniably, I am very excited about the upcoming games and I just can’t hide it, ergo this post. What excites me more are the sports which I grew up with, either doing or those which I just simply enjoyed watching. I love all kinds of sports, so I will categorise all of the featured SEA Games sports in three ways:

Love doing.

Archery • Badminton • Basketball • Billiards and Snooker • Bowling • Boxing • Canoeing • Cycling • Football • Table Tennis • Tennis • Traditional Boat Race • Volleyball

Love watching.

Swimming • Rhythmic Gymnastics • Diving • Fencing • Golf • Sepaktakraw • Softball • Squash • Triathlon • Rowing • Synchronised Swimming

Love to try.

Water Polo • Equestrian • Floorball • Hockey • Artistic Gymnastics • Judo • Netball • Pencak Silat • Petanque • Rugby 7s • Sailing • Shooting • Taekwondo • Waterski • Wushu

On top of my list, of course, is the Traditional Boat Race or also known as Dragon Boat, as I have been paddling for almost twenty years now and the very first time I watched a Traditional Boat Race was in the SEA Games 2005 in Manila. It was held then at the La Mesa Watershed and Ecopark/La Mesa Dam in Quezon City, Philippines.

The venue for the Traditional Boat Race/Dragon Boat will be in the iconic Marina Bay. It will be a non-ticketed sport event so everyone will have a spectacular view of the races from the Waterfront Promenade, The Lawn or at The Promontory. It is happening on the 6th to 7th June 2015, Saturday to Sunday.


Yes, it’s only a couple of months before the games, and to us who will be watching, we can only imagine the hard work of all the athletes who have qualified for each of the events/sports this year. We know it takes months and months, or, even years for these athletes to train for the games—the most prestigious sports meet in the Southeast Asian region.

The Heroes

As for the athletes, this journey, perhaps especially the last 100 days before the games, must be a very tough time for them—emotionally, mentally, and most of all, physically. As they push themselves harder and go through the last stretch of intensive trainings, morning and evening to most of them; we just have to send them all our best wishes and pray that they will be safe and away from possible injuries. These athletes are definitely heroes of the nation they represent and the flag they hoist with pride. Salute to all the SEA Games 2015 athletes!

The Supporters

As with the parents and families of the athletes, the excitement must be making them tremble at times, I suppose. I have had the good opportunity to interview a number of athletes who will be involved in the forthcoming SEA Games and when I asked them: Who’s your biggest supporter in this journey? They answered very easily: ‘My parents!’ Yes, Mom and Dad are on the top of the list and then followed by their fellow teammates, coaches and friends.

The Committee

As for the SEA Games technical committees, competition managers, local and international sports officials, and volunteers engaged in the process and those who will be involved during the actual games, the hard work and preparation are just as tough as they only want nothing but for the games to be facilitated smoothly, professionally, and more importantly, fairly for the all athletes of the participating nations. It must be tough working on the competition format, athletic policies, procedures, rules of racing, and the polishing of the technical handbook of each of the featured sports.

This 28th SEA Games 2015 has indeed brought so much excitement in the region not only because of the host country’s beautiful venues, people and culture, but because through the platform of sports, the Southeast Asian nations unite and integrate as one community having love and respect for each other. This coming June 2015, The Heroes, The Supporters, The Committee–the 11 Nations team up in Singapore for this big celebration of the extraordinary.

Brunei SEA Games Cambodia SEA Games Indonesia SEA Games Laos SEA Games Malaysia SEA Games Myanmar SEA Games Philippines SEA Games Singapore SEA Games Thailand SEA Games Timor Leste SEA Games Vietnam SEA Games

You must see these 50 Icons of SG, gorgeously collated by the amazing team behind SG50. It will make you smile. It will make you cry. It will make you proud!

The Ultimate Guide to Dragon Boat Festivals and Races in Asia

Embed from Getty Images

Here’s a list to guide you on the major dragon boat races being held in Asia. It is grouped by region and then by country. (Format: Event Name, Month – Organising Body/ies)

The event’s exact race schedule may vary each year, hence only labelled by month. The organising body as well as the regulating and supervising committees are also recognised.

This is a post-in-progress and will be updated regularly. If you think that a major dragon boat race in your country is missing or erroneous, please let us know through the comments field.

You may share this list to your team and use as a guide in planning for your next International Dragon Boat Race. Dragon boating is more fun when you add the element of travel.

Paddles Up!

Thank you. Xie xie. धन्यवाद्. Salamat. 唔該. Cám ơn. 고마워. Terima kasih.


Asia (Continental)
Asian Dragon Boat Championships / ADBC, Biennial, May-June – ADBF
Asian Games / Asiad, Quadrennial, Dates vary – AGF, OCA

South East Asia (Regional)
South East Asian Games, Biennial, May-June – SAGF, IOC, OCA

Cambodia Cambodia Dragon Boat
Bon Om Touk Water Festival, November – CDBF

China China Dragon Boat
Zhaoqing International Dragon Boat Festival, June – CDBA
Zhanjiang International Dragon Boat Festival, June – CDBA
Guangzhou International Dragon Boat Festival, June – CDBA
Shaoguan International Dragon Boat Festival, June – CDBA
Dongping Lake International Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament, September – Shandong Dong Ping Culture Bureau, Sport Bureau

Hong Kong Hong Kong Dragon Boat
Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival / Lamma500, May – Lamma Dragons
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, June – HKDBA
Stanley Dragon Boat Autumn Rally, July – Stanley Dragon Boat Association
Sun Life Stanley International Dragon Boat Championships, October – Stanley DB Association, HKDBA
Stanley Mid-Autumn Cup Dragon Boat Races, September – Stanley Dragon Boat Association

India India Dragon Boat
National Dragon Boat Championship, February – DBFI
Inter-Zone & Jr. Dragon Boat National Championship, October – DBFI

Indonesia Indonesia Dragon Boat
Batam Seagull Boat Regatta, August – Batam Tourism Departments
Padang International Dragon Boat Festival, August – Padang City Government

South Korea South Korea Dragon Boat
National Dragon Boat Race, May-June – KDBA, MOMAF
Korea Open Busan International Dragon Boat Regatta, September – BDBA

Laos Laos Dragon Boat
Vientiane Boat Racing Festival, November – Mekong River Commission

Macau Macao Dragon Boat
Macau Dragonboat Festival, June – Macau Tourism
Macau International Dragon Boat Races, June – Macau Sport Development Board, Macau China Dragon Boat Association

Malaysia Malaysia Dragon Boat
Kedah International Dragon Boat Festival, April – State Government Kedah Darul Aman
Malaysia International Dragon Boat Championship & IDBF Cancer Survivors Championship, May-June – MDBA
Sabah Dragon Boat Race, June – Sabah Tourism Board
Penang International Dragon Boat Festival, June – PIDF
Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta, September – Ministry of Tourism Sarawak
Penang Pesta Dragon Boat Race, December – PIDF

New Zealand 
Aoraki Open, February – ADBAI
NZCT Wellington Dragon Boat Festival, March – NZCT, Dragon Boat Festival Office
NZDBA National Championships, March – NZDBA
North Island Regional Championships, March – ADBA
South Island Dragon Boat Champs, March – ADBAI
Auckland Regional Champs, March, ADBA
Waikato Dragon Boating Super 12 Regatta, November – WDBA
Ice Breaker, December – ADBA

Philippines Philippines Dragon Boat
PDBF Annual Dragon Boat Championship 1st Leg, March – PDBF
Boracay International Dragonboat Festival, April – BIPA
PDBF Annual Dragon Boat Championship 2nd Leg, June – PDBF
PDBF Annual Dragon Boat Championship 3rd Leg, December – PDBF

Singapore Singapore Dragon Boat
DBS Marina Regatta, June – SDBA, DBS
National Inter-Schools’ Dragon Boat Championships, July – SDBA
Singapore Dragon Boat Festival, July – SDBA
SDBA-AustCham 10KM Dragon Boat Challenge, August – SDBA, AustCham Paddle Club
Singapore River Regatta, November – SDBA

Taiwan Taiwan Dragon Boat
Taipei Dragon Boat Festival, June – Taipei City Government, Taipei Department of Sports

Thailand Thailand Dragon Boat
Thailand International Swan Boat Races and Long Boat Race, September – Tourism Authority of Thailand
Phuket International Dragon Boat Festival, April – SIA
Pattaya Dragon Boat Festival, November – SIA

Vietnam Vietnam Dragon Boat
Traditional Dragon Boat Race Festival, April – Haiphong Tourism


List of Dragon Boat Associations and Federations:

ADBA – Auckland Dragon Boat Association
ADBAI – Aoraki Dragon Boat Association Inc
ADBF – Asian Dragon Boat Federation
AGF – Asian Games Federation
BDBA – Busan Dragon Boat Association
BIPA – Boracay Island Paddlers Association
CBDF – Cambodian Dragon Boat Federation
CDBA – China Dragon Boat Association
DBFI – Dragon Boat Federation of India
HKDBA – Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association
IDBF – International Dragon Boat Federation
IOC – International Olympic Committee
KDBA – Korean Dragon Boat Association
MDBA – Malaysia Dragon Boat Association
MOMAF – Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
NZCT – New Zealand Community Trust
NZDBA – New Zealand Dragon Boat Association
OAC – Olympic Council of Asia
PIDF – Penang International Dragon Boat Federation
PDBF – Philippine Dragon Boat Federation
SDBA – Singapore Dragon Boat Association
SAGF – Southeast Asian Games Federation
SEATBA – South East Asian Traditional Boat Association
SNOC – Singapore National Olympic Council

Photo Credit: Stephen D’Agostino. Follow him on Twitter @SDAgostinO

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