As an important activity to celebrate the International Olympic Day and the traditional Dragon Boat Festival, the first Huai'an Grand Canal Dragon Boat Racing kicked off on the morning of June 23 on the Liyunhe Canal. Cai Lixin, Secretary of the municipal CPC committee, announced the opening of the competition, and Mayor Chen Zhichang delivered a speech. Then they together with Qi Shouyu, Chairman of the CPPCC municipal committee, Liu Tong, deputy director of the Provincial Sports Bureau, and Li Sen, Zhou Yi, Wang Honghong, municipal leaders of Huai'an put on a red silk ball and added the finishing touches for the dragon boats.
Huai'an is a famous historical and cultural city built along the canal, prospered due to the canal, and beautified by the canal. It has a tradition of dragon boat racing since ancient times. Huai'an successfully held 2019 China Dragon Boat Racing Open (Huai'an, Jiangsu Province) last year, and carefully planned the first open Grand Canal Dragon Boat Racing this year. The purposes are threefold. First, it aims to inherit and carry forward the excellent traditional Chinese culture, show the unique charm of Huai'an canal culture, and strengthen the construction of a landmark city along the Grand Canal Culture belt. Second, this event is organized to promote the brand of sports events in Huai'an and the eco-tourism brand of "falling in love with the water of Huai'an at first sight", which combines sport, culture, and tourism. The third aim is to carry forward the dragon boat spirit of "taking the lead in the race" and unite as one to overcome difficulties so as to win the double victories in the normalized prevention and control of COVID-19 and the economic and social development.
One hundred and four teams from local government departments, colleges, universities, enterprises, etc. participated in the race. Cai Lixin announced the opening of the competition at 8:40. The two-day dragon boat racing is divided into men's 200m straight race and women's 100m straight race. The final was held on the morning of June 24. In addition to the wonderful competition on the Liyunhe Canal, the spectators also have the opportunities to enjoy colorful folk cultural activities on the south bank and the display of commodities with local characteristics.