The Imperial Dragons
In 1999, a group of
three women decided to start a dragon boat team that focused on developing
themselves rather than striving to win. Filling out the roster with paddlers from
defunct teams or paddlers looking for a change, the team took on Canadian
National Dragon Boat team member Blake Hara as their coach. Our focus towards
self-development has yielded several members of the Canadian Mixed, Masters
and Open National Teams for both 1999 and 2001
We believe that success in athletics is
not built solely on skilled athletes. Rather, an equal emphasis must be
placed on other areas such as strong spirit, measurable goals, a positive
image, continued contribution to the growth of the sport and motivating
others to participate. For us it isn't results that matter, it's how we
achieve those results.
We are a diverse crew with members aging from 24-45. We
come from all walks of life, from engineers to medical researchers to bankers
to investment analysts. Fitness is a way of life for our crew with many of us
having received prominent recognition and have represented our country in
marathon running, duathlons, triathlons, wrestling, soccer, basketball, skiing,
cycling and of course, paddling.
Our common goals and strong
spirit are all stimulated by our passion and drive to work together, as a team,
to achieve our best and make a positive difference along the way.
Dragon Boating Experience and Community
- Individual team members have represented Canada
at regattas in Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the World Championships in
England and in the United States, as well as the European Club Championships
- Team members are prominent local and national
level coaches.† In particular,
Blake Hara, the Imperial Dragons own coach, has developed a world class
reputation, leading Canadian dragon boat crews to several gold medals.
- Additional recognition was given our team as
many of our members were chosen to participate on the national menís,
womenís, and masterís teams to represent Canada at the World Championships
in Philadelphia at the beginning of August 2001.
- Theresa, Dori and Doug work with the Toronto
Chinese Business Association helping to raise the profile of the Toronto
Island International Festival specifically and dragon boating generally.
- Other team members inspired and organized the
introduction of dragon boating to special needs adults.† This effort allowed these special
individuals to experience a sport beyond their imagination and the
imagination of others who are less challenged.
- One of our team members, Jackie Song, a
competitive paddler for 5 years, has had to retire due to the physical
demands the sport placed on her body.†
Her challenge now is to cope with rheumatoid arthritis. She,
however, continues to participate in dragon boating as the Imperial
Dragonsí drummer. Jackie is also involved with the Arthritis Society and
their Joints in Motion Program.†
Not only does she volunteer to educate the medical profession about
the various forms of arthritis, she challenged herself further by training
for a fundraising marathon Ė for which she raised $8,000.† Jackie successfully completed the
Disney World marathon in early January 2001.