China has pledged to support Uganda’s future effort to bid for the hosting of the International Dragon Boat Competition due to the country’s enthusiasm to promote and develop the water sport.

According to the Chinese Ambassador, Mr Zheng ZhuQiang, Uganda has the facilities needed for the sport which, however, only require further development to reach the required standard.

He asked the government of Uganda to invest in the sport.

The Chinese diplomat was speaking during a meeting with Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi in Kampala.

He briefed him about China’s support for this year’s Dragon Boat Festival and the collaboration which will see Uganda participate in the International Dragon Boat Olympics.

He said that through the Embassy, China will give Shs200 million towards this year’s Dragon Boat event at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe and will also avail 10 Dragon boats worth Shs500 million to the sport in which Chinese teams from various provinces will take part.

He said  that the chairman of the Chinese Peoples’ Consultative Council, Mr Wang Yang who is Chinese fourth top most personality in the country’s leadership hierarchy and the Vice President of China Peoples’ Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries will attend.

Ambassador Zheng said that Mr Wang Yang who will be visiting Uganda to further boost bilateral relations between the two countries, will also take part in the opening of the Entebbe - Kampala Expressway and the switching on of the first engine of the 6 units at Karuma Hydro Power dam.

Mr Ssekandi appreciated China’s support especially in the development of the Dragon Boat Sport which he said will promote the cultural interaction between Uganda and China.

He said although this was the second-time Uganda was hosting the Dragon Festival, the sport has already attracted enthusiasm, saying the country will prepare Dragon Boat teams to compete at various professional regional and international levels.

Mr Ssekandi said the government will be working with Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom to clean up the Kabaka’s lake in Ndeeba, in preparation for next year’s Dragon Boat competitions.

The Uganda Dragon Festival 2018 that will be held at UWEC, will feature dragon boat racing in the professional, armature and women categories and also local canoeing in their respective categories.

The June 16 event will also feature entertainment pieces by re-known artists from Uganda and China

Teams from China, the East African region, Egypt, Ghana and Mauritius will also participate.