Dragon boat race features athletes from other sports
Athletes from silat, sailing, gymnastics and ultimate frisbee set for dragon-boat battle
Silat world champion Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin and sailor Yukie Yokoyama, a South-east Asia Games gold medallist, will leave their comfort zone when they compete in the DBS Marina Regatta at The Promontory@Marina Bay tomorrow.
Accompanied by 15 teammates each, they will do battle in Singapore's Finests' Paddle Off, a 200m dragon boat race that features athletes from gymnastics and ultimate frisbee, silat and sailing.
Preparation and training have been eye-opening experiences for Sheik Farhan.
"Silat requires a lot of movement from my whole body in a big circle while reacting to my opponent's attacks and movement, but dragon boating involves my body doing repeated movements of similar action," he told The New Paper yesterday. "And I have to be in sync with my teammates."
"Of course, my silat training has definitely helped me in terms of the fitness required to dragon boat."
He said the silat team will go out to win tomorrow, while having fun.
"I've done rowing, kayaking and rafting before, so I will apply what I know from those sports to dragon boating," said the 18-year-old.
"I usually suffer from knocks and joint aches with silat.
"In my first try at dragon boating, I had an ache in my lower back, though that may be from my poor technique, although injuries and aches are all part of being an athlete," he added with a laugh.
Some may feel the sailing team will be at an advantage because of the water, but 19-year-old Yukie insists it is not the case.
"Sailing involves many external factors that are always changing such as wind direction, wind strength and so on but dragon boating is usually done in an enclosed environment, there aren't major external factors but instead factors like teamwork, team endurance and communication," she said.
"Our main aim for participating in this event is to be exposed to a new sport, to make new friends and to have fun."
If her team do emerge victorious, she vowed they would celebrate with a sailing custom.
"In sailing, we usually capsize when we win, maybe we could do it with the dragon boat, too."
The Singapore's Finests' Paddle-Off is one of the many activities at this year's regatta at The Promontory@Marina Bay over this weekend and next. For more information, visit www.dbsmarinaregatta.com.