Survivors win another battle
Two Matamata breast cancer survivors took home gold at the national dragon-boat championships with their team, the Boobops.
Ruth Oldershaw and Colleen Harris travelled to Ashburton to compete at Lake Hood, winning the 500m and 2000m, and coming second in the 200m.
The team trained twice a week for six months and took the competition very seriously, said Ms Oldershaw.
‘‘Nationals are the pinnacle of that six months of hard work and we are incredibly competitive, particularly with our closest rivals Auckland.’’
The Boobops race in the breast cancer survivors’ division and Ms Oldershaw said there was a strong camaraderie between the teams.
‘‘You meet a whole group of people who you may not have met through everyday life.
‘‘There’s absolutely a very strong bond there and that has given us a very good base to build our team on.’’
Following the 500m race, the teams joined on the water for a flower ceremony to remember the paddlers who had not made it to the season. ‘‘A group of secondary school boys did the haka for us and formed a guard of honour with their paddles, which was very moving,’’ said Ms Oldershaw.
The Boobops team consists of 20 paddlers, a sweep and a caller, and Ms Oldershaw said they were ecstatic with their wins.
‘‘We are always in awe of how close the competition is, often there’s less than a second in it,’’ she said.
‘‘You never know who has won until the announcement, so it’s always a very exciting thing to hear we have won.
‘‘I think our coach Matt Cuthbert was the happiest though.’’
Paddles up: The Boobops team were in high spirits at the dragon boat National Championships in March.
Champs: Matamata breast cancer survivors Ruth Oldershaw and Colleen Harris hold the championship breast cancer division trophy.