Old Race, New Places
The drums beat as the dragon boats race . Thismust be mainland China or Taiwan, right? Thinkagain. These days the traditional Chinese boats areracing in places as unlikely as England and Italy.Dragon -boat racing was introduced to the world in1982, when the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival1included international competitors. In the 1990s,dragon-boat racing caught on2 in many non-Asian countries. It quickly became the world’sfastest-growing water sport. What’s the appeal3 ? Dragon-boat racing combines athleticcompetition , cultural interest and just plain fun.
The boats are manned4 by 20 paddlers, one drummer and one person who steers. Nearly 18meters long, the colorful boats resemble dragons with elaborate heads and tails. The teampaddles to the beat of the drum. The boats speed along, rising high and moving smoothlyalong the water. In about three to six minutes, they cross the finish line.
The races recall Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient China. When he drowned in the Mi LuoRiver, the people raced out to save him. But they were too late .
Dragon boats are now racing in towns and cities around the world. Students, working peopleand older people race for fun and exercise . Serious paddlers compete for cups and medals. Inthe United States, the Pacific Northwest International Dragon Cup is in its 11 th year. InToronto, about 250, 000 spectators turn out for dragon-boat races each summer. Swedenhas over 400 teams. Poland, too, has several dragon-boat clubs.
There are even consulting businesses to help people organize local dragon-boat events. Theyhelp with site selection, team training and safety. Besides that, non-profit organizations holdcompetitions to raise money.
And various regional and worldwide races — too many to name — keep serious paddlers busy.In September 2003 , Rome hosted the Club Crews World Championship. In 2004, world-classteams gathered in Shanghai for the fifth International Dragon Boat Federation races. In 2005 . . .
Going to Europe this summer? If so, just remember: When in Rome, do as the Chinese do!
Ⅰ. Complete each sentence with a pro per word , making changes where necessary: ( catch on,appeal, man, patriotic , spectator, consult, amateur, worldclass)
1. Lily is an _________tennis player.
2. Several thousand _________watched the basketball game.
3. That new hairstyle has really_________ . Many people have that hairstyle now.
4. This company does _________work. It helps people start business.
5. The girls _________will the radar till we get back.
6. Kim really loves her country. She is very_________ .
7. This is a _________restaurant. It is known for having excellent quality.
8. The new fashion soon lost its_________ .
Ⅱ. An swe r the followin g que stio n in your own words :
Why does the Dragon-boat Racing become so popular in the world ?