The Abreast of Life Dragon Boat Club are celebrating 20 years of success

Abreast of Life celebrates

by Ann van Engelen

This September marks twenty years of paddling for the Canterbury team Abreast of Life Dragon Boat Club, and two of the team are also off to the World Nations Championships in Thailand as part of a Black Dragons squad representing New Zealand.

“Abreast of Life started back in September 1999 and have had many successes, with paddling and club members encouraging each other as we face our individual issues relating to breast cancer,” says team captain Meri Gibson.

“We would like all ex paddlers, supporters and coaches to join us to celebrate on October 5.”

Meri is also captain of the NZ Black Dragons Senior B Women’s small boat squad going to Thailand this Friday. ABOL team member Janice Melville and Rolleston resident ‘Gilly’ McGill, are also in the New Zealand team.

“The competition is held every two years, and there are six teams from New Zealand, compared with only one team from New Zealand in 2017. Our team has 14 paddlers — seven from Christchurch and seven from Tauranga with half of our team being breast cancer survivors. Janice is the longest-serving member in our club — she began in 2000, and I am the next longest joining in 2006. “We are very excited to be a part of the competition which starts on August 21. This is equivalent to the Olympics, and we are absolutely amazed to be included. Who would have thought that we would end up representing our country.

“Follow us on NZ Black Dragons or Abreast of Life Facebook pages. Races can be watched live stream through the link dragonboat2019.rcat.or.th/live-streaming.”