The dragons of the South China Seas have been locked in combat in Hong Kong harbour.
GV Crowded stand and spectators on the shore of Hong Kong harbour
GV Hong Kong harbour
Singapore team waiting at the starter's stand
Hawaii team in boat preparing for start
Japanese team paddling to start line
Penang team paddling to start line
GV Race in progress (2 shots)
GV One of the local teams sinking just before the finish line
SV Press and TV covering event
SV Winning team of local fishermen waving after their victory is announced
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The dragons of the South China Seas have been locked in combat in Hong Kong harbour. June is the month of the famous Dragon Boat Races in which teams of up to fifty oarsmen power their magnificently decorated craft over the 700 metre course. This year's race took place on Sunday (June 22).
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of spectators crowded the harbour front as 68 local teams and six team from other countries competed for a place in the final. Teams from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Hawaii and mainland United States made it the most cosmopolitan Dragon Boat festival ever held.
Altogether, more than 2,000 oarsmen took part, It is a traditional Chinese belief that the day's festivities bring rain. There have been years when the races were marred by bad weather, even typhoons. But this year, the weather was perfect.
Behind the Dragon Boat festival is the tragic story of a famous Chinese post, Chu Yuan, of the Chou Dynasty, who drowned himself in protest at the official corruption of the time. The story says that local fishermen raced out in their boats to recover his body. They beat the water with their paddles to stop the fish devouring him. The festival is not confined to Hong Kong. Japan and Singapore also have their own versions.
Each race has its drama. Here, one of the local teams dismayed spectators by sinking only metres from the finishing line. But local pride was saved when the Hong Kong fishermen's team led the way to victory.