Thursday, May 29, 2014

Over 100 teams for Sabah dragon boat race


KOTA KINABALU: Over 100 local and international teams are expected to participate in the first Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race 2014 at Likas Bay on June 7-8.

Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin will also grace the occasion on June 8 as the guest of honour.

Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) president Dato’ Sri Dr T.C. Goh said 94 teams have confirmed their participation, which exceeded the 75 number of participation in the previous dragon boat race last year.

“We expect seven more teams to register. We are confident that our international dragon boat race will exceed 100 teams,” he said in a press conference here yesterday.

Of the 94 teams, 13 are international participants who come from Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines and Australia.

Asked why there was no participation from China, Goh said it was due to time constraint as the federation was only given two months to organize the event upon its appointment as the race organizer by the State Government in March this year.

Nevertheless, he said FCAS would invite dragon boat teams from China to participate in the race next year, which was tentatively set on June 13-14, 2015, subject to confirmation.

He said the lack of participation from China was not due to the missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.

In addition, Goh confirmed that the first Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race 2014 scheduled to be held on June 7-8 this year would take place as announced earlier.

He was responding to Sabah Chinese Cultural Association’s (SCCA) statement that the 29th Sabah Dragon Boat Race that was supposed to be held at Likas Bay on June 7-8 this year has been cancelled.

In the statement issued on Monday, SCCA apologized for the cancellation of the 29th Sabah Dragon Boat Race, which the association had initiated and organized for the past 28 years since 1986.

SCCA said the State Government had proposed to co-organize the dragon boat race with the association in 1990 to promote mutual understanding and tolerance among different races, and the State Government had agreed to bear all expenses.

Since then, the event has been co-organized by SCCA, Youth and Sports Ministry and the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry until 2013.

According to media reports, the State Cabinet had accepted the proposal by the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry on March 12 this year to appoint FCAS to organize the dragon boat race.

SCCA contended that they had not been consulted when FCAS passed a resolution to apply for the organizing rights of the dragon boat race from the State Government on June 30 last year, nor was SCCA informed when the assets of the race, including dragon boats, were handed to FCAS on March 31 this year.

In response to this, Goh said the organizer had received a number of calls asking if the dragon boat race has been cancelled.

“The first Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race 2014 on June 7-8 has never been cancelled and we are here to confirm that no less than 100 teams will be participating in the race,” he said.

He reiterated that FCAS was appointed by the State Government to organize the dragon boat race and the federation had named the event as the first Sabah FCAS International Dragon Boat Race 2014.

“Those who appointed us also handed us dragon boats, life jackets, paddles as well as gave us full support in terms of financial and manpower,” said Goh.

The assets received from Sabah Tourism Board (STB) included 20 units of dragon boats, 20 units of drums, 400 pieces of life jackets, 400 pieces of paddles, 20 pieces of steerer oars, 20 dragon heads, 20 dragon tails and 20 IDBF licences for the dragon boats, all of which amounted to RM684,000.

Although the assets were purchased by the State Government, SCCA argued that they ‘belonged’ to the Sabah Dragon Boat Race Committee, and thus should not be handed over to a third party at discretion.

To this, Goh said the assets were handed over to the federation by STB but it was not the federation’s responsibility as to where STB obtained the assets.

On the safety aspect, Goh assured that all dragon boats, paddles and life jackets were kept by a contractor with licence for ship building.

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