You may have heard of dragon boating or have watched or even participated in the St. Neots charity dragon boat festival. Teams frantically paddling their way down a 200 metre race course to win that coveted first place on a fun filled day of action, raising funds for good causes. Or maybe you have seen one of your two local clubs training out and about on the River Great Ouse, in all weathers, practicing their techniques to become more proficient. Just like in any other sport.
Did you know that there is a serious side to this sport? A sport that is participated in worldwide and with crews who train endlessly to reach the goal of representing their country at national and international level. Great Britain, too, participate at these events, picking the best of the best from the sport’s national leagues. Men and women of all ages and abilities are represented. No boundaries exist in participation in this sport.
For the past four years the Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat Club have been proud to say that they have produced some fine paddlers to represent their country. This is a great achievement for a club that only began in 2014.
For 2019 the club is extremely pleased to announce that four of its juniors have been selected for the Under 18 and Under 24s GB teams and will represent their country in Pattaya-Rayong, Thailand at the 14th IDBF World Nations Dragon Boat Racing Championships, 20-25th August 2019. They will battle it out as one of 30 countries, 4,000 athletes from 6 continents taking part.
Ellie Mobbs, Thomas Evans, Lewis Newark and George Armiger have earned their place through hard training, both at club level and with the GB coaches at courses and training camps around the country with the British Team. Often long weekends away, early starts, fitness trials, dietary regimes. You name it, they’ve had to do it in order to be considered worthy of the GB kit they will get to wear in Thailand. Many, many days of continuous assessment and scrutiny. Any let up in their training and that would be the end of their dreams.
When these four young people first joined the Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat Club, they all came as fairly shy and quiet individuals. Over time they began to exert their own stamp on the sport and have become invaluable members of the club. Their young years hiding their maturity. Now, they are not averse to telling the adults in the club what to do, parting with their knowledge gained with the British team.
It can’t go unsaid that the fantastic achievement of Ellie, Thomas, Lewis and George to be chosen as representatives of their country may not have happened without the unfailing backing of their respective families and friends who have encouraged them all the way on the long and difficult training road towards their Thailand goal. The paddlers were thrilled to receive donations from St. Neots Town Council, Glomac Engineering, ESCA (Eatons Community Association), the Mick George Pot of Gold, Lifesure, Whiting & Partners and the Rotary Club of St. Neots St. Mary’s, to put towards the £2,500 they each needed to pay for their GB kit, training, travel and accommodation expenses.
If you are interesting in finding out more about dragon boat racing, visit The British Dragon Boat Association website www.dragonboat.org.uk. If you fancy having a go yourself, just search for the Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat Club on Facebook and send us a message and we’ll get straight back to you.
Our club is an inclusive family friendly club. Our youngest team member is 9 and our oldest – well shall we say, much, much older. We do not discriminate and are very happy for anyone to come and have a go. If you can hold a paddle, or even a drumstick – we have a need for drummers in the sport as you can probably hear when crews are out on the water, training or racing. If you are not afraid of getting wet, which you will invariably get, and happy to participate in a hard but thoroughly enjoyable team sport, we’d like to hear from you.
For now, we wish our 4 British Team members, Ellie, Thomas, Lewis and George, the best of luck in Thailand and here’s hoping that we’ll be able to show off some medals after their campaign.
Chairman, Cambridgeshire Royals Dragon Boat Club
Member since: 10th July 2012
Lived in St Neots since 1975 and boy how its changed, always looking to promote everything great in and around our town.