Meet Adam Yap, a dedicated designer with a passion for Dragon Boat racing. Today, we discover how he juggles his day-to-day job whilst still keeping up with his favourite pastime.

In light of the Olympics, undeniably one of the most popular sporting events in the world, taking place in Tokyo, Japan  scheduled to launch in July this year it is unfortunate that not all sports make the cut—even some of our favourites. In the spirit of celebrating some of these sports, we at Augustman Malaysia would like to uncover some uncommon and under-appreciated sports around the world.

adam yap dragon boat
Photography by Kim Mun / Hopscotch Studios

Apart from the crucial innovations of track and field bikinis, the Olympic committee might consider adding
more ‘Asian’ style sports into its roster. Sure we’ve had our cake and eaten it with Badminton and Ping Pong. But
as the fastest growing hominin subspecies, surely the Power That Be can take another look at say… Dragon Boat
racing? The writing is on the wall for Angle/Euro and American control of global sport. Just look at the oceans of
pink and brown fans propping up the major football leagues of Europe, buying their merchandise and swearing
lifelong tribal allegiances. Aren’t these precisely the sort of rabid devotees to spike viewership figures?

Here’s Dragon Boat rower Adam Yap to share his tale:

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I grew up in a small town in Hulu Langat together with my extended family. I’m currently an Interior Designer,
running my own design firm. I’m also developing a side hustle as an Artist/Painter while running handmade/
handicraft workshops.

WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE DRAGON BOAT RACING?

My knowledge of dragon boat racing when I was in school was that it’s a tradition connected to our Chinese
Dumpling Festival. As I am very keen to broaden my knowledge of the Chinese culture, I decided to try out the sport.

WHAT LESSONS HAVE THIS SPORT GIVEN YOU?

Growing up, sports wasn’t part of my daily routine, I always preferred spending my free time on books and arts,
so being part of a dragon boat team is definitely an introduction to me to the world of physical training and being
in a team sport. But what we realise after a few trainings, that our minds and bodies are much stronger than what we think. Mental and physical strength can be built and developed. By being physically active, I got to know myself better
and start being more aware of how our bodies and muscles work. It’s also good to note that dragon boat racing
is not only about having physical strength and stamina. It’s about having teamwork (sync), rhythm (pace) and
mental strength (determination).

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF DRAGON BOAT RACING?

As a team sport, the added advantage is learning to work together with other people, to be a team player that
brings the entire team to the finishing line. A typical issue that most dragon boat paddlers will face are muscle
imbalance issues – this happens as most paddlers prefer to paddle on one side of the boat causing more strain
on only certain parts of their bodies.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DRAGON BOAT RACING?

That it is only a traditional culture within the Chinese community or that we only race during the Chinese
Dumpling Festival. While the sport did originate from China, the sport is now recognised in many countries and
world-class Dragon Boat competitions are organised annually in different parts of the world. In Argo Naga, we
have team mates from different races and backgrounds, we do not discriminate, as long as you have a passion
for the sport, we will have a spot for you on the boat. Dragon Boat paddling or racing is a sport that emphasises on teamwork, and it’s not just brute strength or youth. In Malaysia, we have people of different ages and sizes paddling including cancer survivors so it is a sport that is open to anyone who is willing to try it out.

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