Saturday 2 March 2024
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Students beating the drum for Nottingham at Dragonboat world finals in Thailand

Two students are heading to Thailand to compete as part of the Great Britain Dragonboat squad in the World Finals next month.

Third-year vet student, Beth Aldridge and second-year microbiology student, Amelie Frost from the University of Nottingham have been selected to be part of the GB premier dragon boat squad.

They will be taking part in small boat women’s and small boat mixed crews and will face pre-race training followed by 6 days of intense racing in the finals in Pattaya on 7-13 August.

Screenshot 2023 07 26 at 11.24.46

21-year-old Beth is a paddler on the squad and got involved in the sport after trying it at a University open day in 2021.

Beth said:

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“I met a lot of great people when I tried Dragon boating which inspired me to get training.

“I joined the Soaring Dragons club in Loughborough who soon became family and I have not looked back since.

“Towards the end of 2022, I began to consider taking my passion for the hobby further by attending some taster sessions for the Great Britain squad.

“I decided then to give it my best shot and I have been training hard with at least 6 paddle and 3 gym sessions a week. I’m really excited about heading to Thailand and hope we can come back with a medal!”

20-year-old Amelie Frost is part of the Notts Anaconda team who train at the boat club by Trent Bridge.

She takes on the role of the drummer on the boat, which she describes as ‘part metronome part drill sergeant’.

The drummer sits at the front of the boat beating time for the paddlers to keep them together and shouting strategic instructions.

Amelie said: “My mum persuaded me to go dragon boating with her as they needed a drummer for their boat.

“On my first session it was chucking it down and freezing! I also really hate water, but they gave me the stick to beat the drum and I’ve been doing it ever since. It was really intimidating the first time I did it as I felt really bad shouting but it seems the angrier I am the better!

“After an intense day of experiments in the lab it is a great release. I’m nervous and excited about the finals but it’s going to be an amazing experience and I’m sharing it with a great, supportive team.”

The World Dragonboat finals are run by the International Dragonboat Federation and this is the 16th year it has taken place with teams from across the world taking part.


Dragon boating originated as far back as 2,500 years ago in China and in 1976 the first Hong Kong International races took place, which was recognised as the start of the ‘Modern Era’ of Dragon Boat Racing.

The International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) formed in 1991 and the IDBF, EDBF (European) and ADBF (Asian) federations now govern dragon boating in over 60 countries. There are nearly 50 million participants in China, over 300,000 in the UK and Europe, 90,000 in Canada and the USA and thousands in Australia and New Zealand. It is now also spreading through the Caribbean and Africa.

Each boat has an ornately carved dragon’s head at the bow and a tail at the stern. The hull is painted with the dragon’s scales, with the paddles symbolically representing the claws.

Video shows Dragoboats on the River Trent last weekend.

@westbridgfordwirenews Dragon boats race on the River Trent in West Bridgford – drummers on each boat keep time #dragonboatfestival #dragonboat #dragonboatrace #rivertrent #trentbridge #nottingham #westbridgford #nottinghamshire #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound – West Bridgford Wire News

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