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1st FRENCH NATIONAL DRAGON BOAT ‘CHALLENGE’

14 December 2008
The first French Dragon Boat Championships were held over the weekend of 20/21 Sept 08, in Annecy – a beautiful lake side City on the French/Swiss border and about 40 minutes by road from Geneva. Whilst in Sabaudia at the European Championships, the organisers of the French Championships invited me to come and see how things were developing on their patch and I was very happy to do so but France being France and given the way sport is governed in France, the races could not officially be called a ‘National Championships’ . This was because the races were being organised by the Annecy Canoe Club and as the French Canoe Fed does not have a Dragon Boat Committee a ‘National Champs’ could not ‘officially’ be held and so with French flair and pragmatism the ‘championships’ became a National Dragon Boat ‘Challenge’ instead ! However, the Dragon Boat Association in France does exist and sensible collaboration between the Association, the Canoe Club and the French Canoe Federation ensured that the races were well organised and attended, 12 Clubs took part – including a guest crew from Meilen in Switzerland, and a good time was had by all.

During my brief stay I was most impressed by the enthusiasm everyone involved showed for Dragon Boating and also the progress being made in developing the sport in the region by the dragon boat organisation already established there. I am sure that in a few years France will make its mark on Dragon Boat Sport in a big way. Like Dragon Boat enthusiasts everywhere, no one in Annecy wants to see ‘politics’ spoiling the sport and getting in the way of developing it and it was gratifying to dine with officials from the Canoe Federation and the Dragon Boat Association and ‘chew the cud’ on how best to jointly move things forward nationally and internationally. Annecy was a weekend well spent in the company of fellow Dragon Boaters who want the best for our sport.

From DBI News by Mike Haslam

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