VI Paddling’s Gorging Dragons Senior crews at the Club Crew World Championships in Szeged, Hungary. Photo submitted

Vancouver Island Gorging Dragons win multiple medals at dragon boating world championships

International Dragon Boat Federation’s Club Crew World Championships were in Hungary, July 16-22

They went. They paddled. They conquered.

The Gorging Dragons, VI Paddling (VIP) Society’s high-performance dragon boat racing team, medalled in nine of their 12 events at the 2018 Club Crew World Championship (CCWC) in Szeged, Hungary this month.

This CCWC, held July 16–22, hosted more than 140 crews (6000+ participants) from more than 30 nations.

The Olympic Centre of Szeged hosted the 200 and 500 metre events on a 40-hectare racing site. The 2,000 metre event — staggered starts with multiple teams and thrilling buoy turns every 500 metres — was raced on the fast-flowing Tisza River in the centre of Szeged in the final days of the competition.

The Vancouver Island-based Gorging Dragons, led by head coach Tom Arnold, qualified at the Canadian National Dragon Boat Championships last year to enter four crews in standard (20-paddler) dragon boats — senior B (age 50+) women, senior C (age 60+) women, senior C open (age 60+, men/women) and Senior C mixed (age 60+, 10 men/10 Women) — in the CCWC.

There was a strong field of international competitors against whom the Gorging Dragons won medals in multiple distances.

Medals won by the VIP Gorging Dragons at the 2018 CCWC by competition class:

Senior B women

• Gold – 500 metre

• Bronze – 200 metre

• Bronze – 2000 metre

Senior C women

• Silver – 500 metre

• Bronze – 200 metre

Senior C mixed

• Silver – 2,000 metre

• Bronze – 500 metre

Senior C open

• Bronze – 500 metre

• Bronze – 2000 metre

“What’s so impressive about this result is the people behind it,” Arnold said. “They are parents and grandparents who discovered an activity that they loved, worked hard to get better, and have become world-class athletes in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. They inspire me every day, and remind me that almost anything is possible through hard work… at any age.”

The Gorging Dragons team train year round at their Victoria and Comox bases. They hail from across the Island with several from the BC Gulf Islands and mainland.

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VI Paddling’s Gorging Dragons Senior C Women’s team after winning the Bronze medal in the 200m race. Photo submitted

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