Uganda is to host the regional Dragon Boat Festival 2018, according to State House officials.
According to the press release, the event will be held on June 16, 2018 at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe, Wakiso district.
The event will feature dragon boat racing in the professional, armature and women categories and also local canoeing in the respective categories.
Teams from China, the East African region, Egypt, Ghana and Mauritius will also participate.
Local artists as well as Chinese will entertain participants at the event that the Chinese Embassy has supported with Shs200m. The Embassy will also avail 10 Dragon boats worth 500m to the sport in which Chinese teams from various provinces will take part.
This will be the second-time Uganda is taking on the water sport.
Meanwhile China has pledged to support Uganda’s bid to host the International Dragon boat competitions in future, its Ambassador, Zheng ZhuQiang said, commending the country’s enthusiasm, capacity and political commitment towards the promotion and development of the water sport.
Amb. Zheng ZhuQiang said Uganda has the facilities needed for the sport even though he said they need further development and preparation to reach the standard required. He has urged the Ugandan Government to invest in the sport.
The Chinese diplomat was yesterday meeting the Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi in Kampala to brief him about his government support for this year’s Dragon Boat Festival and the collaboration that would see Uganda participate in the International Dragon Boat Olympics.
He also revealed that the Chairman of the Chinese Peoples’ Consultative Council Wang Yang who is Chinese fourth top most personality of the leadership structure, but also the Vice President of China Peoples’ Association for friendship with Foreign Countries(CPAFFC) will be attending the event alongside other Government officials from China.
Ambassador Zheng said that, Wang Yangwho’s visit will further boost bilateral relations between the two countries. During his stay in Uganda, he will take part in opening of Kampala expressway and switch on the first engine of the 6 units at Karuma hydro dam.
Ssekandi on behalf Government appreciated China’s support especially in the development of the Dragon boat sport which he said would go a long way in promoting cultural interaction between the two peoples.
As the Chairman of China Africa Friendship Association, Ssekandi said he was happy to see the Chinese and Africa sporting together, saying that this year he has extended invitations other African countries to participate in the dragon boat activities.
Ssekandi said that although this was the second-time Uganda was having Dragon Festival, the sport has already attracted a lot of enthusiasm, adding that Uganda will be preparing dragon boat teams to compete at the various professional regional and international levels.
Ssekandi also said that Government will be working with Buganda Kingdom Government to clean up the Kabaka’s lake in preparation for next year’s dragon boat competitions.
The State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda who attended the meeting commended the bringing of the dragon boat sport in Uganda, saying that it is one avenue of attracting tourists to the country.