Sara Wegwitz/Christopher Kelsall
Four Victoria-based dragon boat teams have won medals during the International Dragon Boat Federation’s (IDBF) Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) taking place in Adelaide, South Australia. The competition started on March 30 and continues until April 7th.
The winning crews train out of the VI Paddling club and are made up of the Gorging Dragons Senior B (over- 50), Womens Senior C (over-60), Womens Senior C Mixed and Senior C Open teams.
The Gorging Dragons Senior C Womens team won gold in their first race, the 2,000m event. This feat represents the first CCWC gold medal for any Dragon Boat team from Vancouver Island. The Senior C Open team won silver in the 2,000m event. In the 500m event, the Senior C Open won gold Senior C Mixed won silver and the Senior C Women’s won bronze.
During the 200m event, the Senior C Open won gold and the Senior C mixed won silver.
“The grit, hustle and hard work of these athletes, combined with the experienced guidance of the world-class coaching staff at VI Paddling, have paid off. All competing teams placed in the top-four in the world across all race categories,” Shared Sara Wegwitz, who is the Mental Fitness Coach with VI Paddling.
The athletes primarily hail from Greater Victoria; however, some live up island in Port McNeil, Comox and Courtney as well as Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Duncan, Vancouver and Nelson.
Wegwitz said, “They have been training intensely several times per week since the fall of 2014 in all weather conditions. The bulk of the training has been on Victoria’s Gorge Waterway with a smaller contingent practicing on Comox Lake this past winter.”
Previous versions of the Gorging Dragons team have won bronze and silver medals at the CCWC competitions in 2004, 2008 and 2014.
Many of these athletes have developed from recreational paddlers to high performance athletes competing for the first time on the world stage. For others it is their second time; having competed and won bronze at the CCWC in Ravenna, Italy 2014.