Over 50 teams from both home and abroad will take part in the city’s annual dragon boat race along the Suzhou Creek this weekend.
A total of 944 professional and amateur athletes, including those from the United States, Germany, Switzerland and France, will compete with the top dragon boat racers from the city and across China.
They will race on 200- and 500-meter long sections of the creek in Putuo District on Saturday and Sunday.
As a highlight of this year’s event, the German football club Borussia Dortmund will compete with other teams. Players will also hold an exhibition on the river bank to showcase the history and culture of their club.
The club applied to participate after visiting the football school in Putuo, which is a major training center for Chinese football players, said Zhang Jun, Party secretary of the district sports bureau.
Apart from the club, organizers have also invited foreign companies and organizations based in Shanghai to participate. Teams from sports retailer Decathlon and Emlyon Business School will compete in the open and invitation races.
The Suzhou Creek dragon boat race was launched in 2004 to show the results of a clean-up campaign.
The local government has invested some 14 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion) to improve the water quality of the creek between 1998 and 2011.
“We hope a number of international events related to sports and culture, science and technology, ecological environment as well as economy and trade will be held around the annual dragon boat race,” said Zhang.
The competition marks the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on June 18 this year.