Dragon Boat Championships Concludes in Toronto
It was a busy third day of competition as more than 40 races took place the 2011 ICF Dragon Boat World Championships at Marilyn Bell Park Watercourse near downtown Toronto on Lake Ontario.
DAY 3 - SATURDAY 23 JULY 2011
Qualfying heats took place in the morning and 11 medals were awarded for finals in Junior, Corporate Community, Senior and Master 500 m categories at the end of the day. The 2000 metre pursuit races were a source of great excitement as boats battled it out around turns and overtook one another to achieve the best possible time. Paddlers came off the water exhausted after completing the endurance event.
Dr. Don McKenzie, was on site to present honorary medals to The Breast Cancer Survivor team. The medals were awarded for an ICF Exhibition event. Dr. McKenzie is the leader of an international movement know as “Abreast in a Boat.” Dr. McKenzie did research in the late 1990s to show the benefits of physical activity for cancer survivors and to disprove a misconception that they were at risk of developing lymphedemia because of exercise. He involved cancer survivors in dragon boating for the study which lead to a world-wide movement of cancer survivors participating in dragon boat. The Breast Cancer Survivor team greeted Dr. McKenzie with hugs to express their gratitude for his research work has lead so many cancer survivors to the sport. Dr. McKenzie has been an active paddler for his entire life and is the doctor for Canadian CanoeKayak team.
It was an emotional day on the watercourse for the Toronto Police Crime Waves. The team participated raced in the community corporate cup category in memory of their fallen colleague and a former dragon boat paddler, Sgt. Ryan Russell.
DAY 4 – SUNDAY 24 JULY 2011
For the first time in its history, dragon boat races for paddlers with intellectual disabilities were included in the world championships. Six teams from Canadian clubs North Bay, Rideau, Carleton Place, Balmy Beach and National Dragon boat Club competed in the 10-seater event. At least two-thirds of each boat was composed of athletes with intellectual disabilities. Participation in the event was supported by CanoeKayak Canada’s PaddleAll program and is part of the International Canoe Federation’s effort to make paddling accessible to everyone.
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