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Sports fans are in for a treat as Macau will play host to five major events

Dragon boat racing, volleyball, golf, motor racing and marathon light up city’s sporting calendar

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 9:49am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 2:48pm

Macau International Dragon Boat Races headline Macau’s sporting offerings this month.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tuen Ng Festival, has grown into a global event from its Chinese beginnings.

Tuen Ng commemorates the patriotic poet and statesman, Qu Yan, who served the Chu state during the Warring States period. Heart-broken by the corruption that plagued his country, he committed suicide in 278BC by leaping into the Milou River.

Legend has it that his fellow countrymen, on hearing of Qu’s death, paddled out to the river and drummed on the boat, in a bid to scare the fish from eating his remains. They are also reputed to have thrown glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves into the water for the fish.

Globally, dragon boat races have garnered much fanfare ever since. The drums will roar on Nam Van Lake from May 27 to 30 as international teams compete in the Macau International Dragon Boat Races.

Organised by the Dragon Boat Association of Macau and the Sports Bureau, the event starts on the Saturday with 200-metre races involving local teams. Sunday will see 500m qualifiers for teams trying to get into the international competitions on May 30. Monday, May 29, is a rest day.

All the races on the final day will be over 500m. University students from around the world start proceedings, followed by two international races in the Open (36 teams) and Women (18 teams) categories, respectively. The organisers say the growing list of overseas entrants includes teams from Hong Kong, mainland China, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, the United States and Canada.

Last year’s winners were Corpo de Bombeiros (the fire department) in the Open event and MGM Macau in the Women’s category. Competition is expected to be equally fierce this year.

Spectators will be treated to a parade and artistic performances in between races. Booths and kiosks will offer souvenirs and festive food, such as the glutinous rice dumplings with which Tuen Ng is identified.

The grandstand is near the Centro Náutico da Praia Grande (Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre) close to the Macau Tower. For more information, contact (853) 2896 7515.

The action heats up with volleyball taking centre stage from July 14 to 16 with the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix event at the Macau Forum.  

Teams from China, Italy, Turkey and the US will be competing for the US$1 million prize, the richest purse in the sport. Last year, China were the outstanding team, routing Brazil 3-0 in the final.

From October 19 to 22, the focus will be on The Venetian Macao Open at the Macao Golf and Country Club, when 140 leading golfers will battle it out for more than US$1million in prize money. Five-time Asian Development Tour winner Pavit Tangkamolprasert eclipsed two-time champion Scott Hend to win last year’s event.

The action revs up again from November 16 to 19, when competitors in the 64th Macau Grand Prix seize the world’s attention. Motorcycle, WTCC and Formula 3 racers will show their daring skills on the challenging 6.2km Guia Circuit for four days. The Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix is the highlight of the event. Last year’s winner António Félix da Costa will be looking for his third victory on this circuit.

December 3 marks the 36th Macao International Marathon, which has grown from humble beginnings in 1981 to one that attracted 10,000 participants from 46 countries last year. In addition to the 42.2km standard marathon, there are half-marathon and mini-marathon options. Kenyans dominated the men’s race last year, with Peter Kimeli finishing in two hours, 12 minutes and 52 seconds to claim the US$47,000 cash prize. North Korea’s Kim Ji-hyang pocketed US$40,000 for her win in the women’s race by finishing in two hours, 36 minutes and 16 seconds. Registration starts in September.