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James Allum, MLA Fort Garry - Riverview
April 25, 2013

Team Canada Dragon Boat: ICF World Championships

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize members of the Team Canada dragon boat who did us proud at the 2012 International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championships this past September.Representatives from the team are in the gallery today.

Dragon boats are long, open canoes paddled by 10 or 20 paddlers to the rhythm of a drum. Many think of dragon boat as something done for ceremonial or recreational purposes, but it is also a competitive sport that requires strength, endurance and skill, as well as co-operation and team spirit.

Team Canada is made up of 60 athletes who come from across the country. I'm proud to say that Manitoba is strongly represented on the team with over three quarters of the athletes coming from our province. They train out of the Manitoba Canoe and Kayak Centre on Churchill Drive in my constituency of Fort Garry-Riverview, and all team members from across Canada work relentlessly and their dedication paid off.

The team did spectacularly in the championships. Despite having a relatively small number of athletes, they were extremely competitive in their races against much larger teams. Their determination and fortitude led them to win a total of 14 medals, Mr. Speaker: nine gold, three silver and two bronze. This included incredible performances against the Russian team made up mostly of ex-Olympians. Team Canada also captured the Federation Cup for the most points in the mixed competition–an immense honour.

Mr. Speaker, this is a team that truly exemplifies how everyone can come together through sport. This is a team made up of men, women, seniors and teenagers from different backgrounds who have trained hard, given it their all and shown the world what Manitoba can do. Mr. Speaker, I invite all members to join me in recognizing these world champions who are superb athletes, excellent role models and wonderful ambassadors for Manitoba and for Canada.