The dragon soars in Dazhou, exuding a majestic presence as participants paddle wildly, seeking glory and racing toward victory. With rhythmic drum beats and loud chants from the teams, dragon boat champions strive to be the first, their boats shooting like arrows, cutting through the waves and heading toward the finish line. On May 28 and 29, the 2024 Sichuan-Chongqing-Shaanxi Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament and Rowing Through Sichuan at Tongchuan Station, sponsored by the Dazhou Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Dazhou Municipal People's Government, held an exciting water sports festival full of passion and speed on the Tatuo section of the Zhouhe River.

A thousand boats compete, dragon boats show their strength once again

The two-day race kicked off amid the cheers of the local audience and the slogans of the dragon boat champions. It is reported that this dragon boat race consists of two events: the 200-meter race and the 500-meter race, involving 16 teams in the national open category and 17 local teams, with a total of more than 620 participants.

After two days of tough competition, Fuzhou Changle Huiquan dragon boat team finally won the championship in the 200m category with an impressive result of 40.08 seconds, Guangzhou Xiangying dragon boat team finished second by a narrow margin, and Shunde Daliang women's dragon boat team finished second. In the local group, Tongchuan dragon boat team, Xuanhan dragon boat team and Sichuan University of Arts and Science dragon boat team finished first, second and third respectively. Fuzhou Changle Huiquan dragon boat team maintained its superiority by taking the championship in the 500m race, closely followed by Guangzhou Xiangying dragon boat team and Shunde Daliang women's dragon boat team in second and third place respectively. The championship title in the 500m race of the open group was won by the Quxian County Dragon Boat Team, while the Sichuan University of Arts and Science Dragon Boat Team and the Xuanhan Dragon Boat Team took second and second place respectively. In the end, the Fuzhou Changle Huiquan Dragon Boat Team won the first place in the open group with an absolute lead. The Sichuan University of Arts and Science Dragon Boat Team secured the first place in the local group with its overall performance.

“The river is incredibly beautiful, and the water acrobatics show of the opening ceremony and the determined figures of the competitors rowing forward gave us a visual feast,” said a person in charge of Sichuan Dragon Boat Association when commenting on the spectator experience of the competition. This marks the return of dragon boat racing in the Dazhou capital area after a hiatus of more than a decade. Dazhou has given dragon boat enthusiasts a satisfactory response in terms of event organization, competition implementation and reception services.

Rowing and paddling, the hometown of the Ba people accelerates forward

The dragon boat race stretches across the map of Dazhou and breaks the limitations of the venue. It takes the Tatuo section of the Zhouhe River as the center point and connects several scenic spots such as Longzhao Tower, Ba Mountain Spirit Sculpture, Tatuo Wetland Park and Jinnan Bridge. By using dragon boat culture as a medium, citizens and tourists can gain a comprehensive understanding of Dazhou while enjoying the race.

The competition was exciting and diverse, and was complemented by a series of cultural and tourism activities. During the event, Dazhou not only prepared special gifts for the participants, but also launched a series of cultural, sports and commercial activities, including issuing millions of tickets and promoting boutique tourist routes, so that participants, citizens and tourists can enjoy the competition and explore the city of Dazhou. Undoubtedly, this is one of the important scenes to showcase the city brand of “Ba style charm and ink-washed Dazhou”.

In recent years, Dazhou has always adhered to the development concept of “clear water and lush mountains are invaluable assets”, made full use of its ecological resource advantages, and taken the road of integrated development of culture, sports and tourism. As a result, the industries of ecology, tourism and sports have seen a growing boom. On the one hand, with the successful hosting of more than 50 major sports events at the national and provincial levels such as the Dazhou Ba People's Hometown Marathon, the National Women's Hockey Championship and the finals of the China Gateball Championship, sports events have gradually become an important means for Dazhou to promote social and economic development. On the other hand, hosting the events has an obvious supporting effect on both urban construction and environmental improvement, and has helped to increase the happiness and satisfaction of residents.

Today, strolling through the streets of Dazhou, one can see the river flowing smoothly and the willows green. The willows are neatly arranged along the river bank, while the greenery on the banks is flourishing with tall, straight trees. The urban space is becoming more and more open, revealing a beautiful skyline. Every step reveals a scene that illustrates the improvement of urban quality. At the Lotus Lake and the Riverside Park, citizens gather to exercise and jog, creating an increasingly strong sports atmosphere.

Against torrents and waves, the ink-washed Dazhou sets sail

“This is my first time watching a dragon boat race in Dazhou city center, and it's so exciting!” 15-year-old Xiao Huang exclaimed while watching the dragon boat race. According to reports, the 2024 Sichuan-Chongqing-Shaanxi Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament and Rowing Through Sichuan at Tongchuan Railway Station will mark the resumption of dragon boat racing in Dazhou city center after more than a decade. For Dazhou residents the same age as Xiao Huang, dragon boat racing may be unfamiliar, but the impact it has is deeply profound. Xiao Huang said he has agreed with his classmates to enroll in a swimming class after the competition, hoping to become a member of the dragon boat team in the future.

For Dazhou, the resumption of dragon boat racing is not only an important moment to promote the national fitness craze, but also a practical attempt to lay the foundation for the integrated development of culture, sports and tourism industries in the future. At present, traveling after sports events has gradually become a trend, and hosting sports competitions has become an important measure for many places to gain popularity and attract traffic. Dazhou, which boasts natural wonders such as the Bashan Grand Canyon, the “Heavenly Wonderland”, and the Batai Peaks, the “Peaks of Sichuan and Chongqing”, as well as the Luojiaba Ba cultural site comparable to the Sanxingdui site and the profound heritage of the Red Revolution, is also well versed in this field.

Of course, hosting a major event is not easy, as it not only tests the overall strength of a city, but also requires the double effort of the municipal government and the event. To achieve this, Dazhou has demonstrated the sincerity of a city and provided high-quality, efficient, enthusiastic and thoughtful services to make the Dragon Boat Race a high-quality event that enriches people's sports life. This not only brings tangible urban warmth, but also continuously releases the dividends for the future development of this historic city.

“The purpose of this competition is to gather dragon boat enthusiasts from home and abroad in Dazhou. It is a combination of sports, culture and tourism, and a deep integration of the dragon boat spirit with the Ba culture and the Red culture of Dazhou.” The person in charge of the Dazhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sports and Tourism stated that after the “Sichuan-Chongqing-Shaanxi” Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament in 2024 and the “Rowing Through Sichuan” event at Tongchuan Station, more events will be held in various parts of Dazhou to further promote the city brand of “Red Dazhou, Hometown of the Ba People and Gas Capital of China”.

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