International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF)

The International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) is the world governing body for dragon boat racing.

A brief history of the IDBF

Whilst the IDBF was only formally constituted in June 1991, there has been traditional dragon boating in Southern China for over 2000 years. International competitions, for non-national crews, have been staged since June 1976 when overseas crews were invited, for the first time, to race in the traditional Hong Kong Festival Races. It is from this event and date that the Members of the IDBF accept and record that the ‘modern era’ of dragon boating began.

Following the example of Hong Kong, other quite independent international races were quickly established, at ‘club level’ (notably in Singapore; Malaysia; Canada; New Zealand; Australia and Sweden) and common Rules and Regulations for international races were developed. In the early 1980’s the sport began to develop as a recognised sport and from the mid 1980s onwards, dragon boat associations, with formal constitutions and quite independent of any other sports governing bodies, were established in Asia, Europe, North America, Australasia and Africa.

In the late 1980s ad hoc meetings were held and minutes recorded, between representatives of the established dragon boat groups and newly emerging crews, with regard to forming Continental and World Federations for the sport. As a result of these ongoing discussions the European Dragon Boat Federation (EDBF) was formed in 1990, followed by the IDBF in 1991 and the Asian Dragon Boat Federation (ADBF) in 1992. The Oceania Federation was established in 2008.

These independent Dragon Boat Federations now act as the representative bodies for the sport; enact international rules and regulations and organise dragon boat championships for their member associations. The Continental Federations recognise the IDBF as the world governing body for the sport. In 2005 the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) accepted the ADBF as having responsibility for the sport in Asian and in 2007 the General Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) accepted the IDBF as the Sport’s World Governing Body and Dragon Boating as an independent Sport. In April 2007 the IDBF was admitted into GAISF (GAISF is now named SportAccord) membership.

See for more information on IDBF.


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