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Tianjin's Dragon Boat races thrill city at Mid-Autumn Festival

By Bruce Connolly | | Updated: 2019-09-17 13:48
Flags of some teams competing in the 2019 Dragon Boat Racing. [Photo by Bruce Connolly/]

It was close to where the Dragon Boat races were held on the Haihe that a well-loved son of Tianjin, Eric Liddle, still fondly remembered, was born on Jan 16, 1902 to Scottish parents. Liddle, famed as a 1924 Olympic Gold Medalist runner, did much to encourage the growth of a sports culture in Tianjin, including helping with the development of the original Minyuan Stadium within the city's present Wudadao area. I thought of Liddle as I heard Tianjiners loudly shout "Jia you," a Chinese expression used at sporting events to encourage competitors, in this case particularly those from Tianjin, to go faster, to strive to win. At times, the Cantonese variant, "Ga yau" was heard, for there were also teams from Hong Kong and Macau.

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