Sports Hero

Dragon Boat


LEE Kin-ho

LEE Kin-ho 
Captain of the Hong Kong Men's National Dragon Boat Team
Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association


Dragon boating is a sport with a long history, perfectly blending elements of sports and culture and calling for mutual trust and solidarity among team players.  On the Dragon Boat Festival, large crowds are drawn to see the event unfold year after year, with many involved in dragon boat racing.  LEE Kin-Ho, our interviewee for today, is no exception.  LEE, a practitioner in the electrical and mechanical sector, encountered the sport in 2014 when he represented his company to compete in the MTR Water Games.  Since then he has developed a deep passion for the sport.  Though with prior experience in playing team sports like football and basketball, he found that dragon boating demanded a much higher level of physical strength, co-ordination and teamwork.  Embracing new challenges, he has totally fallen in love with this highly demanding sport.  Having enrolled in interest classes on dragon boating, he underwent structured training, and subsequently gained valuable match experience.  Thanks to his mastery of the dragon boating skills, he was ultimately selected into the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Team under the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association in 2019. 


Inspiring Team Spirit

Looking back, LEE made honest remarks that he was full of bitterness, for he completely failed to keep up with the team’s pace in those early days.  As a beginner, he was left with no alternatives but to devote a great deal of time and effort to practice over and over again, in which he believed would ultimately pay dividends in the long run.  As a matter of fact, he eventually had same pace with the team, and built a tacit rapport with his teammates.  Surmounting such challenges brought a great sense of achievement incomparable in other sports.  LEE thought that the most distinctive element of dragon boating was its profound emphasis on teamwork.  A dragon boating team typically comprises a total of 22 individuals, namely 20 paddlers, a drummer, and a coxswain.  All must work perfectly well in union, synchronising their movements to achieve optimal performance.  Mutual trust and reliance among teammates are the keys to success in this sport, and there is no wonder why it is most effective in inspiring team spirits.  Besides, dragon boating is highly inclusive, suitable for players of both sexes.  It is even possible to form mixed-gender teams in competitions, for it fully reflects the spirit of equality at the Olympic Games.


A Most Unforgettable ExperienceA Most Unforgettable Experience
LEE participated in several major dragon boat competitions, including 2019 China Dragon Boat Grand and Ice Dragon Boat Race of the 14th National Winter Games.  He even won the championship in the Yokohama International Dragon Boat Race in Japan.  He remarked that he gained invaluable practical experience from each and every match.  Taking part in competitions could present opportunities for him to fight for honours for his own team and himself, and contribute toward the development of dragon boating sport in Hong Kong.  Throughout his dragon boating career, LEE considered the 14th Asian Dragon Boat Championship held in Thailand last year as the most unforgettable event.  He explained, “The Championships brought together elite dragon boating athletes from various countries, with many of them being professional ones.  We eventually finished at third place in the 500-metre mixed race, which was truly unforgettable, for it fully demonstrated that the Hong Kong team (the team) was really strong enough to compete in international dragon boating events!”


Nurturing the Future Generation by the Experienced

Popularisation of Dragon Boating

Popularisation of Dragon BoatingLEE pointed out that dragon boating was actually found everywhere in Hong Kong.  For instance, the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association (HKCDBA) has been organising competitions of varying scales, including the University Sports Federation of Hong Kong, China (USFHK) Championships, inter-school championships and sports festivals.  It was great pleasure for him to witness the sport’s tremendous growth in recent years, with an increasing number of young participants.  Apart from school teams, many public organisations and private companies have also formed their own teams to compete in the events.  LEE attributed such notable successes to the HKCDBA’s tremendous efforts over the years, and found it so gratifying to see the sport’s popularisation and rapid development in the city.  This year, the team is going to participate in two upcoming competitions: the 16th World Dragon Boat Championships in Thailand and the Asian Games in Hangzhou.  LEE hoped that the team could reach another milestone of excellence in such competitions, thereby inspiring more individuals to take part in the sport and preserve its traditional spirit and culture. 


Stick it Out     Hard Work Pays Off

LEE strongly believed that it was worth promoting dragon boating as a sport, for it was beneficial to individuals in building physical fitness, enhancing psychological resilience, as well as developing team spirit.  Through his experience in dragon boating, he realised the importance of perseverance and not giving up so easily in face of challenges.  After all, efforts would ultimately pay off. 

14th Asian Dragon Boat Championships 2022