One of the leading dragon boat racing teams in the UK are marking the Chinese New Year by appealing for new members.

The Pershore Phoenix, who train in Defford in Worcestershire, are stepping into 2024 - the Chinese Year of the Dragon - with a recruitment drive.

Dragon boat racing, rooted in over 2,000 years of Chinese history, first became competitive in the UK in September 1980.


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The sport was originally performed by superstitious Chinese villagers to avert misfortune and seek the rains for prosperity.

The focus of their rituals was the dragon.

The sport has continued to grow, gaining recognition from the Sports Council in 1992.

Representing various categories including mixed, seniors, male and female teams, Pershore Phoenix are a very active team.

Worcester News:

With close association to the Para Dragon and Purple Warriors, the teams compete in 14 and 22 person wooden boats, complete with dragon's head and tail.

Their successful performances at various events last season earned them a fifth-place ranking nationally.

Highlights of their season included a two-day national event at Holme Pierpoint National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, where they battled against larger teams.

They also competed on the international stage at a festival hosted in Barcelona's Olympic Water Park, bringing home medals against teams from as far away as Canada and Dubai.

At the heart of their success are Gwion and Laura, who competed on an international scale for the Great Britain teams at the World Championships in Thailand last August.

Training two or three times a week at Defford, the team welcomes new paddlers, either beginners or experienced rowers, offering four free sessions initially.

The team are particularly aiming to boost their men's team this year.

Members range from 15 to over 60 years old, so paddlers of all ages are welcome.

For more information, check out the team's website, Instagram, or Facebook page.