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IDBF Dragon Boat Participant Survey - Brief Update

Respondents to IDBF Dragon Boat Participant Survey give mandate to IDBF to pursue membership in GAISF

23 April 2007
The IDBF recently conducted an online survey of dragon boat paddlers at www.idbf.org and www.edbf.org. While the survey was conducted via the IDBF website, it was not limited to IDBF dragon boat paddlers. In addition to demographic information on dragon boat participants (males/females, age of participants, nationalities, etc.) the survey especially looked at representation of the sport in international sports governing bodies such as the GAISF and IOC.

An overwhelming majority, 93% of survey respondents, said that the IDBF should continue to seek membership in the GAISF. With the GAISF general assembly vote just around the corner (27 April in Beijing) it is hoped that fellow sports authorities across the globe will heed the call of our athletes and help fulfill the long-held wish of dragon boaters for greater international recognition and cooperation in the brotherhood of athletes by casting a yes vote for IDBF membership in the GAISF.

Additionally, 89% of respondents would like to see the IDBF take the next step and become a member of the International Olympic Committee (although many respondents noted that due to the sheer size of dragon boat crews and the cultural origins of the sport, the likelihood that dragon boat racing would be included in the Olympic Games is very small).

Survey respondents also clearly chose the IDBF (and its national and continental federations) as their preferred representative. 90% listed either the IDBF or one of its national or continental members as the World Governing Body for dragon boat sport. 4% listed ICF (or specifically the German Canoe Federation, DKV) and 6% listed other sports bodies ranging from the International Rowing Association to the National Rifle Association (!) or unknown. 90% of respondents said that the ICF has no mandate from the majority of dragon boat paddlers to represent the dragon boat sport. We trust that the ICF will realize that paddlers´ interests should not be ignored and remove their objection to IDBF membership in the GAISF and that members of the GAISF general assembly listen to dragon boat paddlers and vote yes on the GAISF Council’s recommendation to grant the IDBF membership in the club.

In spite of past conflicts in Germany for control of the sport between dragon boat and canoe federations, fellow dragon boat athletes in Germany also clearly gave their support to the IDBF (and the German Dragon Boat Federation, DDV). With 18% of respondents to the survey coming from Germany, and only 4% of all survey respondents from all nations registering a preference for the ICF (or DKV), it´s clear that German dragon boaters consider the IDBF (and DDV) as their representatives for dragon boat sport.

Dragon boaters also widely support the IDBF view that cooperation with other paddle sports is beneficial as long as no one paddle sport dominates all others (94%). This desire for cooperation is also demonstrated on a practical basis: 13% of dragon boat paddlers also take part in canoeing or kayaking, 5% in outrigger paddling, 2% in rowing and 1% also take part in rafting.

So while the IDBF delegation attends the GAISF General Assembly meeting in Beijing, dragon boater participants all over the world will be hoping for a positive vote on membership and another step forward in the development of our exciting sport.

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