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The 17th Annual Kaiser Permanente SF International Dragon Boat Festival Celebrates “The Year of the Water Dragon” with teams from the UK, Germany, Canada & the US

The largest dragon boat festival outside of Asia brings together int’l athletes 

Treasure Island, San Francisco , Saturday & Sunday, September 15 & 16

Racing: 8am – 5pm; Festival: 10am – 5pm

www.sfdragonboat.com

Call it the “Water Dragon Olympics”: the 17th Annual Kaiser Permanente San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival (www.sfdragonboat.com) Saturday & Sunday, September 15 & 16, 2012 on Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. A fitting counterpart to the recent London Olympics, for the first time, this year’s Festival features several new international teams: paddlers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and, of course, the United States. San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee will help kick-off the event on Saturday as he visits the teams, including one from City Hall’s own ChinaSF business development initiative. Both days of the Festival feature racing from 8am – 5pm, and an on-land Festival of Dragon Boat cultural and related activities from 10am – 5pm. Entrance to the Festival is free and open to the public, as is viewing of the races.

“With a Chinese American Mayor in San Francisco, we’re finding interest in the sport at an all time high and continuing to grow,” said Linda Cheu, Festival Director of the California Dragon Boat Association that sponsors the event. “It is a fitting sport for the Year of the Water Dragon.”

Cheu notes that dragon boating has continued to grow in popularity throughout the country – and world — citing as evidence this year’s unprecedented international competitors.

“The California Dragon Boat Association again expects record attendance in all divisions this year,” said Dave Chen, President of the California Dragon Boat Association and also a longtime dragon boat crewmember. “It’s going to be another great weekend of good, hard racing, excellent entertainment and food, and great times on and off the water!” The festival provides an exciting array of activities off the water as well, from food trucks to entertainment to children’s activities.

In 1996 a handful of paddlers came together with the vision to build an organization to foster the growth and development of dragon boating in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each had little experience in starting up a non-profit organization most were relatively new to the sport themselves. With only commitment and their faith in dragon boating becoming a great activity for the community they moved forward to promote a sport people knew little about in an area already saturated with team sports.

“Although great strides have been made, the dragon boat community in the Bay Area is still in its infancy,” “We are always looking for motivated people to continue the growth of the sport especially on behalf of youth interested in the sport.”

So, what exactly is Dragon Boating?

For those unfamiliar with the sport, dragon boating simply put, is a boat of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steers person paddling to cross the finish faster than their competition. It’s a team sport in its purest form that encompasses the elements of power, speed, synchronization and endurance.

With its beginnings in Southern China, dragon boating today is the fastest growing international team water sport. Each year, race festivals are held around the world in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States, one of the largest festivals in the North America is held right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The appeal to dragon boating is mainly contributed to the sport’s ability to accommodate a wide spectrum of skill levels ranging from novice to competitive,” Chen explains. “At the novice and recreational level, teams often form as a means of social outlet, team building and an alternative means of exercise. For the spectator, the true display of the sport’s intensity and skill is witnessed in the competitive ranks.”

Dragon boat racing is one of the earliest known forms of aquatic competition and is celebrated at festivals and races throughout the world. This mythical celebration is a symbol of Chinese culture and spirit and is one of the three largest festivals in that country, with its roots going back over 2,000 years.

Legend has it that Qu Yuan, a scholar and advisor to the emperor of the Chu Kingdom, jumped into the Mei Lo (Mi Luo) River in despair and protest against government corruption. Local fishermen raced out in their boats to save him. They beat drums and pounded their paddles on the river’s waters and threw rice dumplings wrapped in silk into the river to distract the water dragons and keep them from eating from Qu Yuan’s body. Dragon boating evolved from the re-enactment of this legend at annual festivals.

After 16 years, the California Dragon Boat Association is now the largest dragon boating organization in the Bay Area and organizes one of the largest competitive dragon boat festivals in the United States. In addition, the Association oversees the largest high school and college dragon boat program in the nation.

“No one who has discovers dragon boating – either on the water or as an on land volunteer leaves unchanged,” says Cheu. “Only recently are people outside of Asia beginning to see and experience the magic team and community building aspects of this ancient sport.”

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The Wipro San Francisco Marathon Returns For 35th Year The City By The Bay Welcomes Runners For Another 26.2 Mile Race This Coming Sunday

The 35th running of The Wipro San Francisco Marathon® will take place on Sunday, July 29, 2012. Known for its beautiful scenic views, TSFM is the only race that runs in the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge. The USATF certified loop course starts at the Ferry Building, runs along the Embarcadero, over the Bridge, along the coastline, through Golden Gate Park and the Haight‐ Ashbury District and past AT&T Park before finishing in front of Cupid’s Arrow.

As the largest marathon in Northern California and the 13th largest marathon in the U.S, TSFM is also a Boston Marathon qualifier. This year’s events include the full marathon, two‐half marathons, a 5K, a progressive marathon, the Munchkin Kids Run and most notably and new to the TSFM family of events, the Worth The Hurt 52.4 Ultramarathon. The Worth The Hurt Ultramarathon participants will start at midnight on July 28th and run The SF Marathon loop twice. The elite runners will start the regular marathon at 5:30am followed by the remainder of the field with rolling start times between 5:30‐ 6:45am. It is projected that the first of the 25,000 marathon runners will begin crossing the Bridge at about 6am, with the last runner coming off by approximately 9am.

Winner of the 2011 San Francisco Marathon nationally ranked ultrarunner, Michael Wardian, will be returning this year to defend his title against local elites. Chris Mocko, a local favorite and Stanford alum, set a course record at the Napa Valley Marathon earlier this year and followed up with a win at the Oakland Marathon just 3 weeks later. He will compete with Wardian and Cheyne Inman, known as a short‐distance specialist from Vacaville, who won the Norcal Marathon last fall.

One of the many talented women to watch is Devon Crosby‐Helms, who ran the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston this January. Devon, a San Francisco local, set a course record at the Napa Valley Marathon this year and took 3rd place at TSFM in 2011. She will be participating in the full marathon again this year. Another returning woman, Emily Belli, will be back in San Francisco after a 2nd place finish last year.

“Worth The Hurt” which began as an inspired description of the famously hilly and scenic San Francisco Marathon, has evolved into a distinct challenge, and a new model of charitable giving that event producers of TSFM are beta testing this year. On July 29th, The Wipro San Francisco Marathon will welcome over 30 fund‐raisers who will run the marathon twice, back‐to‐back, in efforts to fundraise for various worthy causes.

Amy Holt will be running the 26.2 for a great cause very close to her heart. Just a day before on July 28th she will be swimming in the Sharkfest Alcatraz swim, followed by the marathon on Sunday. Her personal journey called The Rock to Bridge is an effort to raise money and awareness for the Hydrocephalus Association, a condition that her 11 year old son was diagnosed with in utero. She will be running the last 1.2 miles with her son Colin alongside!

Couple Ethan Bennett and Whitney Henderson will be taking part in the full marathon as part of their cross‐country journey, running 3,300 miles in less than 100 days. They are running in an effort to raise money and awareness to fight cancer. In 2011, Whitney completed a cross‐country run to raise money for Soles4souls and charitywater.org. She holds the record for the youngest female to run cross country unsupported. You can follow their efforts at www.runtofight.com

Come support your community, join in the fun and help cheer on the runners. There will be cheer stations, bands and forms of entertainment along the course including the San Francisco Boys Chorus, Tebucky Jones, Thrillouette and DJ Mo Skills. LoCura will be joining us again at the finish line. The community has once again pulled together for this tremendous local event so be on the lookout for San Francisco’s best cheer groups, costumes, music and fun. Please check http://www.thesfmarathon.com/get‐involved/spectator for more details.

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About The Wipro San Francisco Marathon:

Projected to draw 26,000 runners this year, the 35th running of The Wipro San Francisco Marathon will take place on Sunday, July 29, 2012. Known for its beautiful scenic views, The Wipro San Francisco Marathon is the only race that runs in the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge. The USA Track & Field‐certified Boston Marathon qualifier race starts at the Ferry Building, runs along the Embarcadero, over the Bridge, along the coastline, through Golden Gate Park and the Haight‐Ashbury District and past AT&T Park before finishing in front of Cupid’s Arrow. Marathon events include a Full Marathon, two Half Marathons, a 5K/Progressive Marathon and the third annual Munchkin Kids Run. For more details, please visit www.thesfmarathon.com.

About Wipro Technologies:

Wipro Technologies, the global IT business of Wipro Limited (NYSE:WIT) is a leading Information Technology, Consulting and Outsourcing company, that delivers solutions to enable its clients do business better. Wipro Technologies delivers winning business outcomes through its deep industry experience and a 360 degree view of “Business through Technology” – helping clients create successful and adaptive businesses. A company recognized globally for its comprehensive portfolio of services, a practitioner’s approach to delivering innovation and an organization wide commitment to sustainability, Wipro Technologies as 131,000 employees and clients across 54 countries. For more information, please visit www.wipro.com.

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Mayor Lee applauds Board of Supervisors approval of 34th America’s Cup

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement on the Board of Supervisors unanimous approval of the Lease and Disposition Agreement for the 34th America’s Cup events in San Francisco in 2012 and 2013, which calls for $20 million in infrastructure improvements to the waterfront by the Port of San Francisco and finalizes the venues and mitigation costs of the events:

“I applaud the Board of Supervisors for their unanimous support of the 34th America’s agreement, which will bring new jobs, international visitor spending and long-overdue waterfront improvements to our City.

I also want to thank and congratulate the America’s Cup Event Authority and the America’s Cup Organizing Committee for their partnership, hard work and steadfast commitment to San Francisco throughout this process. The America’s Cup races on San Francisco Bay later this year and in 2013 will be spectacular, bringing a global television spotlight to our beautiful Bay and to the many attractions of our wonderful City. The approvals are now in place. Let the preparations for the America’s Cup begin!”

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