First they take NZ, then the world

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SI­MON ED­WARDS

A dragon boat­ing team of breast can­cer sur­vivors is look­ing for new pad­dlers as it chases a new goal of com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Welling­ton’s Cansur­vive crew, which in­cludes four Porirua women, won gold and sil­ver medals at the dragon boat­ing na­tion­als on Lake Hood, Ash­bur­ton, re­cently.

Pad­dler Mar­lene Solomon, a for­mer breast health nurse who sur­vived a can­cer scare her­self, said that at the Welling­ton event, in a field of Cansur­vive crews that in­cluded two teams from Australia, the lo­cals gained a third place.

‘‘We knew we’d have to step up our ef­forts [at the next event] in Auck­land.’’

That’s ex­actly what they did, tak­ing sil­ver in the 500m final and gold in the 200m sprint. It was a great ef­fort be­cause foul weather was chop­ping up Lake Pupuke badly.

One open adult crew was in­volved in an ugly cap­size ear­lier in the day, so or­gan­is­ers in­sisted the usual teams of 20 pad­dlers, plus sweep and drum­mer, had to be re­duced to 16.

At the na­tion­als in Ash­bur­ton, against the five best Cansur­vive crews in the coun­try, the Welling­to­ni­ans re­peated their suc­cess – an­other 200m gold and 500m sil­ver.

Ms Solomon said the sprints seemed to suit the lo­cal team, per­haps be­cause their prac­tice and rac­ing course on Welling­ton har­bour was the rel­a­tively short dis­tance be­tween the Life Flight he­li­copter pad and The Heke­tia.

Nev­er­the­less the lo­cal pad­dlers, who are aged 42 to 69, also took on a two-kilome­tre race at Ash­bur­ton.

‘‘We went a bit off course but we fin­ished. Now we know what we need to do next time.’’

Porirua crew mem­ber Ngawai Richard­son said the crew were ‘‘ab­so­lutely whacked’’ af­ter the event but the ex­hil­a­ra­tion made up for it.

She said the crew had moulded well to­gether, both on and off the water. They do aqua aer­o­bics to­gether and are con­sid­er­ing the Welling­ton half-marathon.

The crew lost one or two mem­bers a year to can­cer, said Ms Richard­son, and the crew had hon­oured them with a new ban­ner.

The sport was a great way to stay fit, healthy and mo­ti­vated, she said, and they were al­ways on the look­out for new tal­ent.

‘‘You get hooked once you’ve started.’’

The other Porirua crew mem­bers are Sonja Young, Mar­i­anna Ro­bati and Frances Pe­dro.

Their coach Dave El­liott was full of praise for his pad­dlers.

‘‘They’re an amaz­ing group of com­mit­ted women, ris­ing above the chal­lenges to achieve a greater pur­pose in their lives.’’

The women are now plan­ning to take the team to the in­ter­na­tional BC Re­gatta hap­pen­ing in Florida, United States, in Oc­to­ber 2014.

Check out face­­vivenz or sports­ cansur­vive or con­tact them via cansur­vive­drag­onboat­team @ gmail. com. Spon­sors are also most wel­come.

Sur­vive and pros­per: The Welling­ton Hutt Cansur­vive breast can­cer drag­onboaters have fin­ished the sea­son with gold and sil­ver medals from the na­tion­als.

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