August 18, 2017

Junior paddlers compete with Team Canada to win World Championship title

Dedication and training has paid off for junior paddlers in the Dragon Zone Paddling Club. Twenty-three paddlers from the local club qualified to compete with Team Canada in the Under 16/Under 18 division at the 13th World Nations Championships, July 27-30 in Divonne-Le-Bains, France. The Under 24 Canadian national team also included 12 Dragon Zone paddlers. Of those, 15 currently paddle for the club’s exceptional Eternal Dragon team, and several others were team alumni, including Eternal Dragon coach Domanic Lai and Anthony Sze, who served as program directors for the U16/U18 national team.

Team Canada U16/U18 won 7 gold, 3 silver, and 4 bronze at the World Championships in France, as well as the overall World Championship title. On top of that, the U24 national team won 9 silvers and 3 bronze medals. See full results at

Lai observes, “The paddlers who tried out for Team Canada put in everything they had to win their spot on the team and race with some of the best young paddlers across Canada, and then race against the best teams in the ‘Worlds’ in France.” He continues, “It was an experience that none of them will forget, not just because of the results, but because they were able to build links with paddlers from across Canada and around the world.”

Local paddlers who enjoyed their first time at the World Championships, include U16 Captain Benjamin Soo, U18 Captain Colin Lee and brothers, Marcus and Ryan Leeson; Marcus was the youngest person on the U24 team and Ryan paddled with the U16 division. Anika Cheng, another Eternal Dragon Coach, paddled on Team Canada for the second time, this time on the U24 national team.

Canadian gold medal dreams come true for Eternal Dragon junior teams

At the 2017 Canadian National Dragon Boat Championships, August 4-6 in Welland, Ontario, The Dragon Zone Paddling Club’s Eternal Dragon crews won 5 golds, 1 silver, and 1 bronze in the U16 division, U18, and U24 divisions, as well as the overall Junior National Champion banner for the second year in a row. Check out full national results at

The Canadian Nationals were held immediately after the World Championships, so 16 Vancouver paddlers flew directly from France to Welland, racing in two major championships in just over one week.

Of the club’s impressive wins this summer, Lai notes, “We are the only program in Canada that has the depth to submit competitive entries across the three youth divisions. In addition, all of our boats have now qualified for entries into next July’s Club Crew World Championships in Szeged, Hungary.”

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