Three Nambucca Valley
junior paddlers are back home after matching the best at the World Club Crew Championships at the home of dragon boating, Hong Kong.
The locals formed part of the junior team, the Torpedos, comprising members from the Jindabyne, Orange, Taree, Nambucca, Coffs Harbour and Grafton clubs.Coached by Grafton Dragon Boat Club’s Martin and Leanne Thompson, the Torpedos punched well above their weight to secure a silver medal in the Junior A Open 2000m and bronzes in the Junior A 500m and 200m events.
The girls also claimed a bronze of their own, in the Junior A Women’s 200m event.“The Torpedos team is unique in that it is made up of juniors from all over regional NSW, who complete the bulk of their training with their local clubs, only coming together as a team at regattas,” Leanne Thompson said.
“While metropolitan teams enjoy the ability to regularly train together, the logistics of distance prevent the Torpedos from enjoying that luxury. However, they are still able to be competitive at an elite level because of the hard work put in during local training.”
The eighth World Club Crew Championships saw more than 300 crews from 25 countries participate.The International Dragon Boat Federation said more than 4600 athletes attended.
The three juniors who participated from the Nambucca were Baden Ormandy, 14, Georgia Hoffman, 15, and Dana Kraschnefski, 16.The Torpedos faced teams from Canberra, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore.
“Conditions for racing in Hong Kong are very different from those we face in Australia, with dragon boat racing here normally being a still water sport,” Leanne said.
“Crews had to contend with the ocean swell and wash from the normally very busy harbour, along with the Hong Kong summer heat and humidity.“
It was very different to what we experience on the Macksville river, but that was all part of the challenge.
”Sweep Martin Thompson did a tremendous job to ensure the boat kept its line and provided the paddlers with the best opportunity possible to be successful.
“To think that a regionally based team can win on the world stage is amazing and shows the potential of athletes from these areas,” Leanne said.
With this in mind, the Nambucca River Dragons are looking for new recruits from 12 years and up.“We intend to build a strong junior component and who knows next year ... the World Championships are to be held in Hungary,” organiser Tracy Ormandy said.
Macksville High School is supporting dragon boating by adding it to their sports program and the Nambucca River club hopes to get Nambucca Heads High and Bowraville Central onboard.“
Categories we would like to fill are not just the juniors but men’s, women’s and age groups such as premiers 30-40, masters 40-50, grand masters 50-60 and great grand masters.Best days to come try are Saturdays. Call Tracy or Rick on 6568-3985 for details.