They were competitors when in Penang at the recent 26th Penang International Dragon Boat Festival.
But during an evening in Kuala Lumpur, members of the opposing teams met not only as friends but also as breast cancer survivors.
Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Federal Territory and Selangor (BCWA) dragon boat race team members mingled with their Australian counterparts from the ADR Seadragons team at a tea reception, at Australian High Commissioner James Wise's residence.
Also, present were Makna (National Cancer Council) president Datuk Farid Ariffin.
The Australian women were clad in the breast cancer survivor's colour, pink.
There was camaraderie as women from both teams discussed their techniques for the races.
BCWA committee member and breast care nurse Barbara Khoo said it was the Australian team from the ADR Dragon Boat Club that inspired the Malaysians to form their own dragon boat race team.
“We cheered them on during last year's races at the Teluk Bahang Dam and they gave us encouragement to form our own team. Our counterparts from Singapore also motivated us,” she said.
ADR Seadragons public relations co-ordinator Lynn Hill said the team pushed for a special Breast Cancer Challenge at the recent races.
She also spoke about the Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Festival that will be held on June 25 and 26 in Vancouver, Canada.
“The event marks the 10th anniversary of the first breast cancer dragon boat team formation and survivors from all over the world are expected to attend, along with over 50 teams,” she said.
Dragon boat paddling for breast cancer survivors started as a result of a Canadian study to the myth that repetitive upper body exercise in those treated for breast cancer increases the risk of developing Lympheodema, swelling of the arm and chest area after lymph node surgery and radiation therapy.