Sur­vivors win an­other bat­tle

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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.

ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

Champs: Mata­mata breast can­cer sur­vivors Ruth Older­shaw and Colleen Har­ris hold the cham­pi­onship breast can­cer di­vi­sion tro­phy.

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