Boat Racing: The on-again, off again prosecution of a top coach has caused division in the racing community and raised concerns about safety.
Dragon boat racing has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past three decades. Many former rowers have switched from rowing to paddling, and they now represent their country in international races. Many government and corporate employees have taken part in community races. Many rosters are dominated by young Asian Americans, particularly in New York.
However, that was before Randy Ng, a well-known coach, upset the sport
Ng, 38 was the face of DCH Racing for many years. He was also a U.S. national coach and the largest and most successful amateur team in New York City. In October 2019, he was charged with abuse of five women team members, including two minors. He was relieved of his coaching duties in January 2020 as he sat in an isolated hearing at Queens criminal court.
The next hearing was scheduled for June 2021. Unexpectedly, the case was dismissed. Queens prosecutors made plans to appeal the dismissal in August.
Ng has not been charged with any crime as it stands. Ng did not respond to follow-up messages when he was reached by telephone.
The ongoing controversy has tangled the dragon boat community, divisive those who think Ng should get the benefit of doubt and those who feel safety standards are an afterthought.
This case highlights how quickly-growing niche sports, such as dragon boat racing, are dealing with allegations of abuse. Dragon boat racing, which is largely run by volunteers, didn’t have an established code of conduct, or ways to report ethics complaints, until a few decades ago.
In this era
Allen Huang said, “In this era #MeToo and girls and women willingly to speak out, it is a great time to reset.” He was part of several New York teams before he and his wife started a successful Boston team five years ago.
“We must assume Randy is innocent until proven guilty. It doesn’t hurt to have the coaching staff establish policies and methods to help the youth.
Dragon boat racing is a popular sport that has seen teams return to the water despite the fact that the Delta variant of coronavirus continues to prolong the pandemic. However, many people hope that the sport, which has nearly 50 million participants in China, Hong Kong, and 390,000 in Europe, will be able go beyond its status in Tokyo as an Olympic demonstration sport.
Officials from the United States Dragon Boat Federation declined to speak with us. However, the lawyer for the federation informed a former member Ng’s racing team that Ng had been arrested and that the federation was “looking into the matter.”
DCH Racing is run by a non-profit organization. The current leadership of the team did not respond to requests for comment. Brian Lam, group vice-president of Lithia Motors (the parent company of DCH Auto Group), said that he was troubled by the allegations. Team leaders were told by Lam that future funding would depend on the creation of written protocols to ensure that allegations are taken seriously and that people feel safe enough to approach them with any issues.
Lam stated that he would work personally with the team, which has for many years celebrated Chinese culture and mentored youths to achieve better results.
He said, “We can look at almost any personal conduct type deal like Deshaun Watson.”
Vinoo P. Varghese was Ng’s lawyer and said that it was unlikely that Ng would return home to DCH.
Varghese stated that he was treated badly by dragon boat people. It hurt him. “I don’t believe he wants any involvement with dragonboat racing in the future, or at all with the current organization.”
The 1980s saw organized dragon boat racing gain international popularity, which has its roots back to China 2,000 years ago. It was the brainchild of Hong Kong tourism officials. (As a journalist for The Associated Press Hong Kong in 1990s, I covered an International Race that included teams from San Diego, Vancouver, Philadelphia, and Philadelphia.
first international championship
In 1995, the first international championship of the International Dragon Boat Federation attracted 820 competitors from 14 countries. In 2019, more than 3,300 athletes came from 30 countries to Thailand for the most recent championship. The International Olympic Committee invited the International Olympic Committee to request official recognition in 2009.
Large boats are decorated with dragon heads or tails and can hold up to 20 people. There are 18 paddlers, one steerer, and one drummer who set the beat for the strokes. Bob McNamara is a Philadelphia-based dragon boat coach and chair of Temple University’s emergency medicine department. The wooden-and-plastic boats are about 400 pounds lighter than the 1,400-pound handmade teak boats.
In the beginning, rowers were mostly men. There are now mixed gender, junior, men’s and women’s teams. They race from 200 to 2000 meters. McNamara stated that the sport is growing in Texas, Florida, and established hubs in British Columbia and Ontario, California, New York, and elsewhere.
DCH was founded
DCH was founded in 1993 and has berths at World’s Fair Marina, behind Citi Field. DCH’s reputation for being a dedicated, intense family was built by Ng. The team spends four days per week on the water, and many hours sweating in its gym, the Dungeon. The team boasts 160 paddlers and has placed well in major races all over the globe.
Ng was so focused about DCH, he asked paddlers to not join other teams or attend colleges out of state, former members of the team said.
Jacky Kwan, a former DCH junior team captain, recalls being thrilled about his acceptance to West Point. Ng was not happy.
Kwan, who has recently left the Army to work in robotics, recalled that Randy told him you were being selfish by accepting this. “Everything to him, everything is binary. Either you’re with or against me.”
According to LinkedIn, Ng, a Stony Brook University grad, has worked as a leader development consultant among other jobs. He was a board member of Guardians of Flushing Bay (an environmental nonprofit created by community groups and dragon boat teams) before he was arrested.
Ng rose to prominence as a coach for DCH’s junior team. His black sweatshirts, which were embroidered with DCH’s logo on the back and the name of an athlete in script on it, became a symbol of ethnic pride and athletic prowess at many high schools, including Brooklyn Tech.
DCH honored Ng with a surprise tribute video featuring dozens athletes in 2017. Many praised his fun-loving, prankster personality and his willingness to spend time with people 15 to twenty years younger than him.
According to court documents and dozens of former members, Ng was using his position to abuse paddlers. Ng was charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse, as well as harassment.
The allegations date back to 2014. Some of the alleged incidents occurred at a DCH fitness center.
A conditional plea agreement was discussed by Queens District Attorney’s Office prosecutors. Ng would be required to participate in a sex offenders program.
The order of protection for the victims was also included in the January 2020 hearing. Ng declined the offer. However, it was difficult to schedule the next court date because some of the accusers were students from out-of-state.
“Now that it’s all in perspective, it’s not right. He kept complimenting and praising me, he kept giving me praise,” stated the woman, who was then a high school student. He was also opening up a lot more opportunities for me. He bought me a paddle as a birthday gift.”
The pandemic intervened and the judge dismissed the case in June.
The Times reached out to a woman who said, “I had the need to keep refreshing the website with all of the charges.” “Me and other girls are disappointed that he did not face any repercussions. It was so heartbreaking to hear.
Varghese was Ng’s lawyer and said that Ng was relieved.
He said that he was “blinded” when the police arrived at his house. He said that being accused of something like this had a devastating effect on his emotional well-being and on his wife. But justice was served. From a legal standpoint, he is an innocent man. It’s almost as if nothing ever happened.”
The Queens district attorney’s Office filed a notice of appeal on August 6. The continuing case prompted the office to decline to comment.
Many people find Ng’s situation uncomfortable.
This was evident at a weekend training session in Flushing Meadows Corona Park a few weeks ago, when teams sponsored by Northwell Health and New York Community Bank prepared for the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, which will be held in New York City in early August.
The event was intended to encourage vaccination, reopen small businesses, and combat anti-Asian hate crime, but almost everyone knew about Ng’s story. DCH was an unremarkable absentee this year.
Henry Wan, the festival’s long-standing chairman, stated that DCH had been a valuable contributor to the sport. However, dragon boat is like all things — anything could happen.” “I don’t have any firsthand knowledge about this #MeToo thing. It’s a given that everyone must follow the rules, but it’s not for me.