Junior paddlers travel the world in pursuit of Gold
Training pays off in world travel for qualifying members of Eternal Dragon, local junior and under 24 teams that practice year-round out of the Dragon Zone Paddling Club in False Creek.
Currently, 17 Eternal Dragon teen members are in contention for a spot on Team Canada and will undergo National Team Trials in May. Those who qualify will compete as members of the Dragon Boat Canada U16/U18 National Team at the 13th World Nations Championships in Divonne-les-Bains, France, July 27-30, 2017.
Fresh from their trip to France, the teens will barely have time to come home and unpack before rejoining their Eternal Dragon team members on a flight to Toronto and a road trip to Welland, Ontario for the 2017 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships, August 4-6. The Canadian nationals is a qualifying event for this team to go to the Club Crew World Championships in Szeged, Hungary in 2018.
Teens experience “ridiculously unforgettable moments”
Last year, the U18 team made multiple trips to the podium at the Canadian Nationals to accept gold medals, winning all their races and the Junior Division title. After their victory, they celebrated with a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum. Proud members posted about the sightseeing trip on Facebook, exclaiming “Dinosaurs, gems, medieval armour, and ancient artefacts await!” Sightseeing excursions will be built into the itineraries for the national and international travel paddling trips again this year.
According to Dominic Lai, Eternal Dragon co-coach and national coach for Team Canada U18, these young paddlers are all working hard to earn their places on the world’s top teams. “Some are seasoned veterans, others started in September, but worked hard to get ready. Now they’ll have an experience where they travel with their friends, paddle for their country, and go somewhere new.”
Coach Lai stresses, “Not many kids their age have the chance for these ridiculously unforgettable moments.”
Thank you to Eternal Dragon coaches Dominic Lai, Jessica Tan, Aidan Menard, Shamus Menard, Anika Cheng, and Ron Baido, all of whom volunteer their time to train young people in the competitive sport of dragon boat racing.