Race for passion, teamwork for better result
Updated: 2014-06-11

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Fudan team leader Shen Weiming (front left) joined by cheerleaders, before the race, on June7th.[Photo provided to China Daily]

It was race time at the East China University of Science and Technology, with a team from Fudan pitted against rival teams at Tong Hai Lake, and Fudan’s leader, Shen Weimin, watching the race from the sidelines with a furrowed brow. Shen kept glancing at the timer in his left hand, then said anxiously, “Our team took 53 seconds and just came in second in the semifinal, while Shanghai Marine were the champions last year with 56 seconds. The race is so tough this year, it’s just unbelievable.”

Then while the team took a rest break during lunch, Shen relaxed a bit and became more talkative, “Fudan’s been strong in the dragon boat since 2008.”

He continued in a slightly more cheerful tone, “And we’ve got 80 people signed up this year and narrowed them down to 25. So far we’ve done a good job - two championships, one in second place,” then got excited, switching to Shanghai dialect, “and usually I explain to my crew that the race is for remembering Qu Yuan, a good guy in old China, who fell into the river and drowned.”

In describing the training and preparations, Shen suddenly got sober and shook his head saying, “We’ve got passionate people but had no place to train at all. So we had to come over here to train just four times and it was far from perfect.”

Judging by the cheers and applause, Fudan was fairly evenly matched with Tongji, even slightly ahead.

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Fudan crew going all out in the dragon boat race.[Photo provided to China Daily]

“Fudan took second place,” one cheerleader shouted.

Shen Weimin put a smile on his face and waved to his crew.

Shen says that the boat race is a tradition at Fudan that is passed on, but for many team members who are almost finished with their studies, it means something different, for example, Zhong Minghui, a Singaporean, he said somewhat ruefully, “For many for us, this is the last race, we’re leaving.”


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Fudan crew members, cheerleaders and volunteers cheering the results, on June7.[Photo provided to China Daily]

 Star of Fudan Dragon Boat Team

 cc2b410a59984a81645267fa727ac00d.jpgWith a superb figure and lovely smile, Italian Dati Diego has served as the chief player of the Fudan team many times. He uses his fabulous skills to control the game and is always the tie breaker. Since it is his last year of Chinese study, he cannot attend next year’s game. He mentioned this news during an interview with a China Daily reporter. He also added, "I have no regrets regarding the final score, although our team got second place, it is ok with me." To Diego, Chinese dragon boats are more interesting than Western canoes.

 

 

  

 d1953ff71be2aee4820762b959c1165b.jpgZhong Minghui, captain of the Fudan team, is also known as the “master of the dragon boat.” He comes from Singapore and is fluent in Mandarin. Facing the same situation as Dati Diego, he may not attend the game next year. He is proficient in Chinese culture and knows the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival very well. He found the festival very interesting. “I think the differences between the dragon boat and wave blazer are simply boat size and interior decoration.” To most teammates, Zhong and Dati form the core of the Fudan dragon boat team.

 

 

 

 

By Zhen Wang and Yuchen Zhang

 

 

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