Pan Am Dragon Boat Racing

USDBF President, Andrew Szymanski, announced today that a working group has been established to explore the feasibility of the United States bidding, and ultimately hosting, the 2022 IDBF Club Crew World Championships or the 2023 IDBF World Championships (Nations Cup). The working group will be chaired by Mike Kerkmann, President of Pan American Dragon Boat Association and includes Mr. Szymanski and former IDBF Executive President, Mike Haslam.

“We are excited but also realistic about the prospect of hosting an IDBF World Championship event here in the United States” Mr. Szymanski said during his announcement. “After investigating all aspects of the project, the working group will provide its recommendation to all potential stakeholders including continental, national and regional sport governing bodies on this side of the pond.”

The Letter of Intent to bid on either championship event is required to be submitted to the IDBF in March. On the appointment of Mike Kerkmann as chair of the group Mr. Szymanski commented, “Mr. Kerkmann has a unique and valuable perspective on hosting these championships. During his 25 years in the sport Mike has built two successful production companies in Canada and the USA and has played a key role in bringing previous IDBF championships to Philadelphia, Toronto, Tampa and Welland.”

“As chairperson, I have already sat down with Dragon Boat Canada President, Scott Murray who was very helpful in reminding me of the challenges faced when promoting and hosting an IDBF event in North America” commented Mr. Kerkmann. “It’s important not to become so enamored with the honor of hosting an event that represents the pinnacle of our sport when there are certain realities that compel us to stay well-grounded, and to think critically during the investigative process.”

When asked about possible venues Mr. Kerkmann said, “It’s too early in the game to consider which city and which venue would provide us with the best chance for a successful championship. There are fundamental metrics and financial considerations that would be common to any venue we select so we need to first ensure that those fundamentals tell us we should move forward with the bid process.”

Mr. Haslam said “I’m delighted that Mike Kerkmann has agreed to chair the working group to examine the potential of an IDBF world championships bid by the USA. Mike is an ideal appointment and will bring his knowledge of the dragon boat world and his experience in business to bear on the work of the group. Hosting an IDBF world championships is a very exciting prospect but there is a lot of work to do before we make a decision on whether to launch the bid.”

The USA 2022/2023 Working Group will comprise representatives from all USDBF regions, government agencies and other key bodies. It will examine some key issues to assist the group in their decision on whether to bid, set out a roadmap for a potential bid and will report back this summer.