Dragon boat races are becoming a popular team building activity for many companies in the country, Qatar Dragon Boat Festival 2017's event organiser Cherri Lee told
“We receive more interest, especially from the corporate sector, because this is a very good team building exercise,” she said, noting that several companies in the country are putting up teams and sponsoring their staff to take part in the competition.
This year's event, organised by Qatar Dragon Boat at Grand Hyatt Doha on Friday, saw hundreds of paddlers participating in two categories: the ‘recreational league’ (12 teams) and ‘premiere league’ (nine), including a team from the UAE.
The Onslaught Racing Dragons Qatar won the mixed category in the 'Premiere League.' PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
Teams for the recreational league were Aecom Dreamers, AECome on!, Eayilat Wahida, Arcadis Black, Arcadis Orange, Blazing Paddles, Mott Mac Donald, Parsons Pirates Rev D03, Sacyr, Shangri-La Falcons, The Siemonsters and QNB Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Angry Dragons Qatar, Doha Dragons, Doha Wireless Warriors, Gaod Dragon Boat team, Masterpiece, Philippine Dragon Warriors Qatar, Onslaught Racing Dragons Qatar, The Thirstday Group and The Olympians (UAE) participated in the premier league.
Lee stressed that most of the companies who joined the first edition have been consistently supporting the annual event. She expressed optimism that the growing popularity of the festival will attract more participants and sponsors in the near future.
However, Lee pointed out that they can only take a maximum of 12 teams for the recreational league (corporate category) due to the limited number of dragon boats and the allotted time for all the races.
“Each heat can take four boats maximum and will take 15 minutes. The race itself will take about a minute or one and a half depending on how good each team is,” she explained.
“This is the third year we are doing the event and it keeps on growing," Lee said, while recalling that if the inaugural race three years ago saw 15 teams. Now the capacity has been maximised.
“But unfortunately it is on a first-come basis and this is the maximum that we can take.”
Apart from the players, she also lauded the volunteers and the organisations, especially Katara – the Cultural Village, for their continuous support in running the festival. Katara provided a venue for the weekly training of amateur paddlers and a parking area for the boats.