Dragon Boat Team Captain U ChonDiscovering Joy in Training

Text│UM Reporter Terence Tan
Photo│Provided by the interviewee

U Chon, the current captain of the Dragon Boat Team at UM, is a fourth-year student from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology. He joined the team in his freshman year at the invitation of a senior member. Since then, he and his teammates have won numerous awards at local and non-local competitions, including the championship in the 500-metre open category of the Macau University Student Invitational Standard Dragon Boat Race.

Losing Can Be a Good Thing

U has made many friends through dragon boating, and their company makes training more enjoyable. He has also made friends from other teams at competitions. ‘We would throw a party after a competition, and we would sing and dance and exchange uniforms. These are memories that I will never forget,’ he says.

Dragon boating is a team sport and requires team members to train together on a regular basis so they can learn to row in the same rhythm. While U and his fellow team members enter each competition hoping to win, U believes losing can also be a good thing. ‘Losing makes us reflect on our weaknesses and helps us become more resilient. Winning all the time is actually not a good thing, because it will make you conceited and ill prepared for the next game,’ he says. U has never thought of becoming a professional athlete. But he feels grateful that his experiences as a student athlete have not only made him more fit, but have taught him how to handle success, how to reframe problems, and how to remain positive in challenging times.

Members of the UM Dragon Boat Team

Handling Stress with a Positive Attitude

With his heavy workload as a civil engineering major, additional work as a participant in student organisations, and the regular intensive strength training in the Dragon Boat Team, U is no stranger to stress. But he has never thought of withdrawing from the Dragon Boat Team. Asked how he handles such a busy schedule, he says, ‘It is indeed a bit stressful during the two months before a competition, but otherwise I still have some time to myself.’ In addition to a positive attitude, his family’s support has also been a source of strength that has kept him going. ‘My family believes playing sport is a good thing, and they are proud of me when I win an award at a competition,’ he says. ‘I hope this year we can bring home more championships.’

ISSUE 14 | 2016

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