Here's good news for dragon boat fans - you may not have to wait a whole year to enjoy a dragon boat race. For the Chinese, the summer season officially begins with the annual Dragon Boat Festival, the only time of year the public gets to see these boats in action. But because of their growing popularity, both here and overseas, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association (HKDBA) plans to make the sport available all year round. The HKDBA, which organised yesterday's Third Hong Kong Dragon Boat Championships on the Shing Mun River, Sha Tin, will be setting up a centre to promote the sport, especially among youngsters. HKDBA's Anthony Chan Kit-chu said the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival had grown into such a popular international event that clubs were being set up all over the world to promote the sport. Once the HKDBA's dragon-boat centre was set up, anyone interested could book a dragon-boat and practise rowing with friends. Yesterday's event saw the introduction of a new category, the junior championship, which attracted seven teams. They were from the Civil Aid Services Cadet Corps; Construction Industry Training Authority; Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps (Team A); Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps (Team B); Boy's Brigade, Hong Kong; The Hong Kong Sea Cadet Corps, and the Scout Association of Hong Kong. The seven teams prepared for the race at The Scout Association of Hong Kong Pak Sha Wan Tam Wah Ching Sea Activity Centre. Sum Man-lung, leader of the air cadet corps team, told Young Post that although they took part in the competition for the first time, the team members were very well prepared. Form Seven student Man-lung said he felt fit for the demanding race, having gone through a rigorous physical training course at his school, Kowloon Tong School. Teammate Lam Kin-wah of Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo) said the most important thing about a racing competitively was a sense of team spirit, which the air cadet corps had. The team has a total of 22 members, the youngest 14 years and the oldest 17. The first Hong Kong Dragon Boat Championships were held in April 1994, with 28 teams taking part. The second one, in April last year, attracted 38 teams while this year 57 teams signed up for yesterday's competition.