It all started with the Cape Town International Dragon Boat Festival in November 2002. As in previous years we entered as one of the 58 corporate teams. This time was different, however. From the outset it became clear that our “fun team” would end at the top that year as all our competitors were being demolished. That weekend we won all our races and the Team Spirit Cup to boot. With fantastic times which lay in the range of the professional teams, we impressed the South African Dragon Boat Association to such an extent that we were nominated to participate as the South African junior national team in the world championships in Poland in 2003. The Dragon Boat Team of the German International School in Cape Town was born and we only had a few months to prepare for our first true test: the world championships!
With training, technique and especially a strong team spirit we soon succeeded in putting out the best junior team in South Africa and even beat adult teams. At the world championships – what an experience: a person who has had the honour of carrying the national flag into an arena, will never forget it – we had to participate in an international competition including the traditionally strong Asian nations. Nevertheless we achieved an outstanding fourth place. In the qualifying rounds we had set the fastest time for juniors.
This was the first time ever that an African junior team participated in a Dragon Boat World Championship. In the whole of South Africa there was no other junior dragon boating team. The DSK has started something which, inspired by our success, has “infected” others. At present there are four active junior teams in Cape Town alone, with countless other schools regularly paddling as well. In Gauteng and Kwa Zulu Natal the situation is similar. The DSK gave the sport the necessary push and ensured its future in South Africa and Africa.
The future belongs to our students (aged 14 to 18). We train hard, are passionate about this matter and we are a real community. Our medal haul proves that we are the most successful junior team in the country.