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Local dragon boaters make history

28 Apr 2015

Local dragon boaters make history Image

The Melbourne Flames made history last month, when it was named Australia’s premier dragon boat club at the national championships.

The Docklands-based club was awarded the Trevor Huggard trophy, an accolade that has never before been won by a Victorian team.

The Flames also brought home 10 Gold and 2 silver medals from the Australian championships, which were held in Perth from April 14 to 18.

Melbourne Flames captain Georgina Wakim said the whole club was on a “complete high” after its success. “This is our dream come true,” she said.

Ms Wakim put the team’s success down to the commitment of each and every team member and the guidance of coach Serghei Cusca.

“There was a strong focus on helping each other as much as we could on and off the water,” Ms Wakim said. “It was pure sportsmanship.”

“Everybody did what they could do individually to help the team as a whole.”

Through its success at the national championships, the Melbourne Flames have now qualified to compete in the Club Crew World Championships in Adelaide in April next year.

“Now we need to take our experience from the nationals and repeat it at the Club Crew World Championships next year,” Ms Wakim said.

Local clubs the Dragon Masters and Yarra River Dragons also enjoyed success at the national championships, which saw 2000 paddlers and 50 dragon boat clubs from across Australia compete.

According to Dragon Boat Victoria spokesperson Melissa O’Brien, the Dragon Masters hauled a swag of medals in the Masters category and the Yarra River Dragons earned their first ever medal, with a second place in the women’s 2000m race.

“Victorian clubs are well and truly on the map in Australian dragon boat racing,” Ms O’Brien said.

The national championships also saw Docklands-based Yarra River Dragon member David Abel named the incoming president of the Australian Dragon Boat Federation.

Docklands paddlers and Victorian board members Melissa O’Brien and Eliza Campbell were also named the joint recipients of the 2015 Jon Taylor Award for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of dragon boating in Australia.

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