A WOMAN from Rhyl, now living in Hong Kong, has been selected to represent Team GB in an international Dragon Boat racing competition.

Joanne Jones, a former pupil of Ysgol Dewi Sant and Ysgol Glan Clwyd, will be one of nine female ‘expats’ competing at 2017 International Dragon Boat Federation World Championship for the first time.

The event started on Wednesday and runs until today (Sunday).

The Hong Kong-based members of the British team have only been allowed to compete for their home country since March this year, and met for the first time with rowers from the UK last weekend to train in preparation for a series of big races. Joanne, 50, said: “We spent the whole weekend blending with the British paddlers, as this was the first time we’d actually paddled together.”

The sport involves competitors paddling in boats with extravagant dragon head designs and Joanne will take part in an all female, 20 person race and a smaller, mixed boat tournament in Dianchi Lake, Kunming in the Yunnan Province of China.

Joanne moved to Hong Kong 20 years ago, and currently works as a senior marketing and business executive for a British law firm.

She took up the sport 15 years ago and has since competed in races across the globe - including Adelaide in Australia, Cape Town in South Africa, Busan in South Korea and many times in China.

She was, however, unaware of the popularity of the sport in her home town and the Dragon Boat Festival that took place on Rhyl’s Marine Lake in 2013.

Joanne said: “Most companies in Hong Kong have a dragon boat team, but I had no idea people raced in Rhyl. I’ll contact them when I’m next visiting to see if I can paddle with them.”