On Sunday 4 June 2023, the Moselle River at Remich was the location for the first edition of the Luxembourg International Dragon Boat Festival, an event featuring sport, culture and food.
The competition on the water was preceded by an Opening Ceremony on the Remich Esplanade with a traditional Lion Dance, accompanied by a drummer, then with Guangxi artist performances throughout the event.
The Ambassador of China to Luxembourg, Mr Hua, spoke (mainly in English) at the opening at which already hundreds of people had congregated at the venue. He recalled the history of such festivals and also said how beautiful the Remich area is with its many things do do, including wine growing and production along the Moselle river. Also in attendance were Luxembourg’s Minister of Tourism, Lex Delles, who talked (also in English) and referred to initial discussions that took place four years ago with the Chinese Cultural Centre about a Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, and the mayors of Remich (who spoke and mentioned that in the coming weeks, Remich will host other events such as an Iron Man event and a half-marathon) and Perl. Zhang Yong, President of the Luxembourg Euro-Asie Schengen International Group (Euro-Asie) and the organiser of the event, then spoke (in both Luxembourgish and Chinese) about the organisation of the event. To conclude the traditional opening, Ambassador Hua and Minister Delles were invited to paint the eyes of a dragon.
Throughout the event, Chinese food was available from the (Chef Guo) Asia Food Truck, as well as traditional Luxembourgish grilled fare. Chinese tea and other hot and cold drinks were also available, as we as the traditional sticky rice cake (zongzi).
A total of 11 teams, each comprising 18 members (16 rowers and 1 drummer who were contestants, plus one professional from Dragonboat Club Besch), took part over a course of approximately 250m, with the first round, semi/finals and a final ensuring a full day of competition. The event got underway, with participants having practiced in the days and weeks preceding the festival.
The first round comprised ten races which, in effect, were prequels for the main event (held after a break for lunch), the three semi-finals (each of three teams) and the final, with the winners of the three semi-finals qualifying for the final. After the first round, LUNEX topped the timing charts with a combined time of 1:55.4 (0:58.1 & 0:57.3), followed by Cargolux (1:57.0 (0.54.6 & 1:02.4)) and ICBC (2:01.8 (1:02.7 & 0:59.1)). Times had been recorded for the first round; for the semi-finals and final, however, it was positions that counted.
SF #1: Agricultural Bank of China v Cargolux (w)
SF#2: ICBC (w) v Bank of China
SF #3: LUNEX (w) v Euro-Asie
The final line-up saw LUNEX in lane 1, Cargolux in lane 2 and ICBC in lane 3. In a photo-finish, LUNEX pipped Cargolux, with ICBC just behind in third position in a very close finish.
Six hours after the event opened, it concluded with the awarding of prizes to the top three teams and their participants, who all received medals presented by Minister Delles and Ambassador Hua.