Paddlers Against Limits (P.A.L.S) working together to get ahead of the competition.
THE Water Warriors Dragon Boat Club from Australia lived up to their name as true-blue warriors when they triumphed in the Malaysia International Dragon Boat Championship held last week at the Putrajaya Water Sports Complex.
Second place went to their countrymen, the Australian Water Dragons, while BCF Paddlers in the Pink from Singapore won third place.
The Malaysia International Dragon Boat Championship and the International Dragon Boat Festival (IDBF) Cancer Survivors Championship 2014 was held simultaneously in Malacca and Putrajaya last weekend.
More than 50 teams took part in the two-day event, including 20 international teams from Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, the United Kingdom, Singapore and South Africa.
A total of 143 races were set over the two days at the two venues.
The champions received the Grand Challenge Trophy, also known as the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Trophy, from governing council chairman and joint founder Tunku Datuk Dr Sofiah Jewa.
Also present was Malaysia Dragon Boat Association founder and president who is also the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Trophy joint founder Datuk Herman Chin.
The trophy, named after the King, enjoys the patronage of both the King and Queen of Malaysia.
On the key to winning, Water Warriors team captain Jacky Smith, 38, said it was due to training and “paddling for each other”.
The team, with members between 21 and 70 years old, trains three times a week and goes for two off-water sessions in the gym.
“We take part in 12 races a year. This is our second time racing in Malaysia. We love Malacca (on the first race day).
“We will be back,” she said.
This will not be the last you hear of them as they will be racing in Penang this week.
The race was also Drago Pilipinas’ second. According to team captain Japa Gavino, they are the pioneer dragon boat team in the Philippines and members are made up of former athletes in different sports such as volleyball, weightlifting and track.
They scored second and third placing in the International Premier (Women) 12-crew race event and International Premier (mixed) 22-crew event respectively.
It was Deaf Dragon’s first international championship in Malaysia but it did not stop them from winning one of the race events.
Alfred Yeo, 35, the captain for the team that hails from Singapore, said team members, who are all hearing-impaired, communicated using sign-language and gestures.
“We formed the team one and a half years ago. Team members joined to keep fit and to challenge themselves,” he said through a sign-language interpreter.
Recognising the needs of cancer patients and survivors, the organiser created a platform for them to create cancer awareness. One of the participants for the Cancer Survivors Championship 2014 was The Pink Challengers, a dragon boat team from the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) which consists of members who are breast cancer survivors. Team captain Wong Mee Yee was pleased to note that they have improved and scored better timing compared to last year.
“We trained once a week to keep fit and every weekend three months prior to the championship,” she said.
The event drew many spectators with the food and beverage stalls and a booth by the Criminalise War Clubs that received financial support from the organisers to help spread the message that war is a crime and for more such clubs to be established in various parts of the country.
The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Dumpling Festival or Duan Wu Jie in Mandarin, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar.