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Only a few hours before the beginning of the first edition of the Ice Dragon Boat Festival in Misurina.

Auronzo International Ice Dragon Boat Festival  - 22 and 23 February 2020 – Misurina

Only a few hours before the beginning of the first edition of the Ice Dragon Boat Festival in Misurina.

 

Everything is ready in Misurina to welcome the teams and spectators for the first edition of the Auronzo International Ice Dragon Boat Festival. The boats, which are adorned with dragon heads and tails, arrived in loco only a short time ago and the final tests with the skates are being undertaken. These skates will permit crews of 10 paddlers to slide along the frozen lake.

 

“It will be a unique emotion” – say the organisers. “We are in a location of unsurpassed beauty, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Racing at 1800mt above sea level, with snow lining the regatta course, it will be an unforgettable experience for everybody, participants and spectators alike”.

At 11am the Opening Ceremony beginning with the Italian National Anthem and a welcome to all the teams in the presence of the Mayor of Auronzo, Tatiana Pais Becher and other Authorities. A hockey demonstration will follow while the Team Leader’s meeting is held. The 100mt practice sessions will follow (while on Sunday the races will be over a distance of 150mts). The heats and the official qualifications will begin at 12pm. The finals will be held from 3pm to 4pm. The eagerly awaited medal ceremonies will be held with the amazing Bellunese Dolomites as a spectacular backdrop.

 

In the breaks during the practice session, it will be possible to try out the boats by reserving via email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and/or calling 334.9566321.

The citizens are all invited to the festival.

Auronzo International ICE DRAGON BOAT Festival

Dragon Boats on skates are the stars on Misurina’s frozen lake

Auronzo International Ice Dragon Boat Festival – 22 and 23 February 2020 – Lake Misurina

Dragon Boats on skates are the stars on Misurina’s frozen lake

 

Saturday 2nd February 2020 - a unique event awaits us and for the first time can be seen on the frozen lake of Misurina.

Dragon boats arrived from the orient in 1976, and have been present on Lake Santa Caterina in Auronzo for a number of years (the local club promotes this activity on the lake during the warmer months). They will be fitted with skates and will be pushed along the ice by teams of 8 or 10 people with ‘paddles’ equipped with hooves and spikes.

 

What is the Ice Dragon Boat?

In the Ice dragon boat, the paddling movement is very simple. Just as in the dragon boat in water, the basic technique can be learned in minutes. The real challenge is the concentration needed to ‘paddle’ in time and together. A drummer is placed at the front of the boat to assist with the timing, beating a drum in rhythm so that all the paddles proceed in unison.

It is an enthusiastic Andrea Bedin – organiser of the event – who explains these simple concepts to us. Ice Dragon is opening new ways of practicing sports on ice, particularly for a sport which sees a group of twelve people on board the same vehicle (in the bob we see competitions with 4 athletes on board). And the choice of the frozen lake of Misurina is not accidental.

 

Why?

As I was explaining, the Ice dragon can be practiced by anyone even without any knowledge of the discipline. I can say from personal experience that it is easier than paddling in a dragon boat on water. And this aspect makes the growth and development opportunities associated with this discipline indescribable. To fully answer this question, I need to continue.

 

Certainly….

The idea of bringing the Ice Dragon to Misurina belongs to the Olympic kayak champion Daniele Scarpa (Atlanta 1996). The confirmation arrived thanks to the Administration of the Municipality of Auronzo di Cadore who, during the press conference for the 2023 ICF Junior and U23 World Championships, welcomed Daniele’s message that the IOC would like to increase the number of sports and athletes participating in the Winter Olympics. A trend that is completely opposite to the Summer Games which sees disciplines exiting and entering the Olympic programme but always maintaining or even reducing the number of athletes. The event that will be held on 22 and 23 February 2020 will be an absolute first for Misurina and for the Ice Dragon on this frozen lake, but could be the beginning of a progressive path which could lead to the inclusion of the Ice Dragon Boat as a demonstration sport in the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympic programme.

 

Have steps already bee taken in this direction?

It is not an easy path because first of all, we need to see the realisation of this type of event, and the Auronzo International Ice Dragon Boat Festival will be the proof. The President of the IIDBF (International Ice Dragon Boat Federation), Mr Yonghi Luo declared that he would like to enter the winter Olympic programme, however the IIDBF would have to be associated with a Federation already recognised by the IOC before being able to start the bureaucratic and economic path towards the Olympic dream (Editor’s note – the IIDBF is not yet a Federation recognised by the IOC). 

What can we expect from the event being held on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February? Are there any foreign teams taking part?

The first edition of an event is always the most difficult to organise. From the start we aimed at promoting the local territory. And in this respect, the location of Auronzo-Misurina helped us a lot. If we consider the teams who come from Hungary, Ireland, Germany and England and that we will also have Italian teams from Verbania, Bergamo, Toscolano-Maderno, Valbrenta, Padova, Venezia-Mestre, Florence and Rome, I think we have succeeded. Amongst these teams, four will participate as BCS crews (Breast Cancer Survivors), the ‘Pink Ladies’ who have gone through a breast cancer operation and use the dragon boat to help with rehabilitation. We presented the sport as accessible to everybody, as it effectively is, with the Organising Committee hiring the boats and technical equipment and making them readily available to the participants. The Municipality of Auronzo believed in the feasibility of this event and took on many of the costs, making itself available for the execution of many works and providing full support for all operations. We would like participants and spectators to see the Ice Dragon Boat as a discipline within everyone's reach, without barriers and capable of sharing new experiences, both from the point of view of physical well-being and from the point of view of social gathering (because you are all in the same boat). Competitions should be an additional stimulus with which to measure yourself, always respecting the harmony of the game and the rules.

 

And what does the Administration of Auronzo di Cadore think of all this?

You would have to ask them – concludes Andrea Bedin.

We asked the Mayor of Auronzo di Cadore, Mrs Tatiana Pais Becher.

“The administration of the Municipality of Auronzo di Cadore is honoured to be able to host this Ice Dragon Boat event, an original form of promoting the territory of Auronzo and Misurina, the land of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, proposing once again a combination of sport and nature, but this time in a winter version.

For many years the frozen lake of Misurina hosted the Snow Polo event. Located in the heart of the Dolomite UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the ideal choice for this sport, which we have seen many times in summer on Lake Santa Caterina.

This event will also be an opportunity to involve the local youth and bring them closer to this sport, also in view of next year’s events in which Auronzo di Cadore will be the European City of Sport, and in view of the 2023 world kayak championships for the Junior and Under 23 categories”.

 

And a first opportunity has been seized. Young players from the hockey teams of Auronzo di Cadore and Dobbiaco will try this new “game” and “competition”, getting into the boats and paddling together. On the proposal of the Organising Committee, the young hockey players will take advantage of this unique scenario in which to provide a short demonstration of a hockey game, allowing the other teams present to enjoy these moments of sport. We took the opportunity of also inviting the young guests from the nearby heliotherapeutic centre of the Diocesan Opera San Bernardo degli Uberti Istituto Pio XII, so that they too can try paddling on board the Ice Dragon Boats.

 

All the citizens are invited to attend. For information you can contact the Secretary of Venice Canoe & Dragon Boat club at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: +39 334 9566321 and Dragon Boat Italia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: +39 335 8177188.

 Auronzo International ICE DRAGON BOAT Festival

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