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EDBF AGA Meeting Update

14 December 2008
The Hungarian Dragon Boat Federation hosted this year’s EDBF Annual General Assembly Meeting in Budapest on 15 November. The Hungarians, eager to show off their organizing capability and excellent facilities, held the meeting near the Lagymanyosi Bay Park, where the 2009 EDBF European Club Crew Championships will be held.

Elections
The First and Second Vice-chair Holders’ positions were up for (re-) election this year, as were three Governing Member positions. Claudio Schermi (Ita) was re-elected as Senior Vice-Chairman and Bartosz Wisniewski (Pol) was elected to the Second Vice Chairman position, previously held by Victor Kisselev (Rus). Governing Member representation changed slightly this year, with Russia and Czech Republic being re-elected to represent members on Council. Poland declined nomination as Governing Member to make room for broader input from EDBF’s members, so Hungary was elected to the vacant seat on the Council.

Championship Bids
Bids for the 2011 European Club Crew Championships were presented by Ukraine and Czech Republic. While Czech Republic had an impressive presentation, has proven it can hold good championships and is the host for the 2009 IDBF World Nations Championship Dragon Boat Races, the EDBF membership gave the Ukrainians a vote of confidence and asked them to organize the championships. Generalizing on what was said by a number of EDBF members in support of Ukraine’s bid: ‘EDBF wants to make sure that races are of good quality, no matter where they’re held; and we also want to make sure that they are spread around among our member countries so that everyone can attend, ensuring the best quality competitors.’

The Ukrainians are planning to hold the championships at a specially-designated sport and recreation facility, located near the center of Kiev. Although the location has been used to host Ukraine’s own Golden Dragon Festival, it has not been used for a European Championship in the past so the Ukrainian DBF has been given a year to secure sponsorship, materials and guarantees for the championships. In the meanwhile, the ComSpec commission will be visiting the Golden Dragon Festival in September 2009 to evaluate the facilities, accommodations, regatta course quality and organization. Provided the UDBF has been able to make the necessary arrangements to ensure a good quality championship, the bid award will be confirmed at the next AGA (14 November 2009 in Kiev). If not, both GB and Czech have offered to serve as backup locations for the championships.

Updates on ECCC
The AGA attendees walked from the meeting facilities to Lagymanyosi Bay, where the 2009 ECCC will be held to view the regatta location. In spite of the cold, early dark of November, the facilities were in even better shape than they were in when the ComSpec commission visited them in July. The City of Budapest and private developers have been hard at work making this one of their premier outdoor recreation and leisure facilities and each month seems to bring another addition to the area. The members were impressed by the attractive location and satisfied with answers to their questions on lane width and water depth.

Peter Jarosi updated the EDBF membership on progress in organizing the race to date and promised that Information Bulletin 1 would be coming as a “Christmas present” to EDBF’s members in December. He also wished to stress that the organizing committee would be very strict with registration and payment deadlines, not wishing to repeat the mistakes of past event organizers. As Jarosi pointed out, “if we know who is coming and they have paid on time, then we can guarantee that their rooms will be booked and that other arrangements can be made in a timely fashion. If not, then it causes a mess for the organizers and heartbreak for paddlers who have come so far to paddle only to hear that they cannot compete because they did not register and pay deposits and fees on time.”

Looking back at Sabaudia
There are 29 EDBF member countries, of which only 15 were represented at the European Nations Championship in Sabaudia. While some of these countries are still in the first stages of developing the dragon boat racing sport, EDBF Chairman Alan van Caubergh, felt that EDBF members should try to send more national teams to the championships: “We haven’t seen teams from Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Netherlands or Belgium in a long time, although these countries have long been represented in the EDBF.” On the other hand, he was satisfied that there has been some growth in the number of total crews at the championships and the excellent quality of the youth crews. He also made a special note of welcome to Spain who sent a very successful team to the European Championships for the first time, and to France which has long been a “sleeping” EDBF member but sent a good team from Annecy - a start signal for increasing French dragon boat racing activity on the EDBF and IDBF level. Bridget Walter, ComSpec chairholder, gave her commission’s report on Sabaudia. She cited the compact size of the location, transport, water quality (width & depth), first aid response and quantity & quality of boats as good points of the event. Points for improvement were: anchoring systems for boat-holding pontoons, printed results from the timing systems, boat loading area capacity, spectator viewing and radio communications. Although many paddlers seemed satisfied with the event, Peter Klima of Czech Republic, felt that the race did not live up to EDBF expectations and that there was room for many more improvements. The Chairman of the Italian DBF, Claudio Schermi, was not present to report on his side of the event in person. However, he did send a report citing problems with payment as one of the chief problems with the race organization.

2009 Membership Fees
The membership voted to keep the current membership fee in place for 2009. Treasurer Natalya Kravtsova has been chasing unpaid membership fees and asks that all members pay their membership fees on time. If EDBF membership fees are not paid up, then that country’s crews will not be allowed to participate in EDBF championships until those fees are paid.

Developments in Dragon Boat
Alan van Caubergh gave an update on the status of the Dragon Boat and Canoe sports federations. He is hopeful that a change in ICF leadership will clear the way for more productive relations between the two federations. In the meanwhile, van Caubergh and Mike Haslam (IDBF Executive president) have been holding discussions with the International Va’ a and International Rafting Federations to further cooperation on sports development, disabled sports and other common areas of interest, with eye to forming an Association of International Paddle Sports Federations. (Haslam was recently elected to chair the AIPSF.)

This report does not cover all issues discussed at the AGA. More detailed information will be available via your national dragon boat federation once the meeting minutes have been distributed.

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