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ANNUAL MR500 EVENT RETURNS WITH A RECORD BREAKING -2,500 PARTICIPANTS

Dragon Boaters in action at the SAVA-SMU MR500 event at the Jurong Lake Park.(Photo:SSC)


About 2,500 Dragon Boat, Canoe and Kayak enthusiasts gathered at Jurong Lake Park on 24th & 25th March to take part in the much anticipated annual event, MR500 2012. The MR500 is a well-known event amongst seasoned paddlers and was organized by SAVA, with Singapore Management University (SMU) as the co-organizer.

This was the fifth year that SAVA & SMU collaborated for the ‘500 meters water-race event’. However, this year’s event took place at Jurong Lake Park, a new venue where the water currents were much more serene compared to previous editions.


Another change this year is the inclusion of tertiary institutions in the Canoe & Kayak Championships to enable more school participation and to extend their target audience reach.

Jessie Phua, a Temasek Polytechnic canoeist said, “I am ecstatic that there is a tertiary level race category so that I can put myself against the stronger opponents and get the priceless exposure, which can help me in my canoeing experience."

In the Dragon Boat Cha
mpionships, there were Inter-Club, Corporate and even Senior Open race categories which produced much excitement among the stiff competition.

 
Apart from locals, many expatriate teams like Ireland (above), Great Britain, Canada, Germany and etc were present to showcase their skills at the MR500.(Photo:SSC)

Despite being it a local event, many expatriate dragon boat teams like Canada, Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Philippines and etc. were present to join in the fun under the sun.

One of the foreign dragon boater, Jeffery Canto from the Filipino Dragons shared, “I feel that this kind of event is very challenging but on the bright side, I made many friends from different nationalities and even traded tips already."

With 28 different race categories, the two-day event was a gruelling yet exciting adventure for the 2,500 strong participants. The paddlers had to battle it out over the course of heats, semi-finals, and eventually, the grand finals to determine the winner of each race category.

 
It was a photo-finish in the Mixed Open Dragon Boat race category.(Photo:SSC)

The top three teams from each race category were presented with team trophies and individual medals, by the Guest-of-Honour, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Minister for Manpower, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Sunday.

19 year old, Samson Teo, a Republic Polytechnic dragon boater said, “Almost every dragon boat team around Singapore is here. This event acts like Singapore Dragon Boat World Cup and it is good platform to see where my team stands.”

With comments like ‘major water-sport event’ and ‘Singapore Dragon Boat World Cup’, Angelina Ong, the Managing Director of SAVA cheerfully replied, “It is great to hear that the event is growing and I am delighted that MR500 created awareness for the water sports.”

She added, “Our aim for next year’s MR500 is to bring more novel yet specific race categories and also work with SAVA to bring more similar events to bay.”
 
The next SAVA event will be the SAVA Sprints 2012 happening in September at Lower Seletar Reservoir.

For the MR500 2012 Results, visit http://www.sava.com.sg/mr500.html