A world-class dragon boat competition is expected to spark enthusiasm in the historic sport in China's dragon boat hometown while promoting traditional Chinese culture to the world.
Fuzhou, the capital of East China's Fujian province, will hold the inaugural International Dragon Boat Federation World Cup as an opportunity to promote its rich cultural heritage while demonstrating the popularity of the sport in the city, organizers said.
"Located in the southeast coastal area, Fuzhou has a long history of dragon boat racing dating back to at least 1,500 years ago and has become a famous dragon boat destination in China," said Huang Qiqin, director of the Fuzhou city sports bureau.
As the IDBF top event, the leading 16 teams at the World Championships have qualified for the World Cup, which will be held from June 10 to 12 with about 450 athletes from around the world taking part.
Huang said Fuzhou now has more than 3,000 dragon boats registered with the bureau and organizes races every year around the Dragon Boat Festival holidays in early June.
The sport enjoys huge popularity among females in Fuzhou while, in most part of China, women were not encouraged to become rowers in the past.
"Fuzhou has a tradition of gender equality in dragon boat participation and this year's World Cup will highlight female crews' capacities as well," Huang said.
The Fuzhou event will include a women's 12-crew category for female rowers for the first time in China.
The event's operating and marketing partner, Wisdom Group, expects the race will raise awareness of healthy lifestyles while promoting Chinese culture worldwide.
"Any event with rich cultural heritage and mass popularity deserves to be better marketed to shine throughout the world," said Shen Wei, vice-president of Wisdom Group.