Two members of local dragon boating club, Pendragons, will arrive in Thailand next week to represent Australia at the 14th International Dragon Boat Federation World Dragon Boat Championships.
Penrith local Glenn Ling and lower Blue Mountains resident Peter Fox will don the famous green and gold when they compete against the world’s best dragon boating nations in Pattaya-Rayong.
4000 athletes from 30 countries will take part in the prestigious event, which runs from August 20 to 25.
Speaking with the Weekender, 53-year-old Ling, who only took up dragon boating in 2016, said he was ecstatic to be representing Australia for the first time.
“While it was a bit of a surprise at first, I’m very happy to make the team. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here but it’s not too far away now,” he said.
A former basketball coach, Ling took up the water sport to spend more time with his wife who was already a keen participant of dragon boat racing.
“I took a break from basketball coaching and then began running to get fit,” he said.
“My wife was doing dragon boat racing at the time, so I decided to get involved as well so we could do something together.
“Along with my wife and coaches at the club, my Aussie teammate Peter Fox took me under his wing when I arrived and showed me the ropes. I’ve loved it ever since.”
Fox, a former Penrith Emus rugby player, took up dragon boating in 2010 and has represented both his state and country on multiple occasions. Fox became the team captain for his category crew in Canada in 2015 and is a very respected coach and mentor at the Pendragons.
In Thailand, the pair will team up to compete in several events in the Open Men and Mixed categories. Ling said he and Fox have been training vigorously on both the Nepean River and Regatta Centre courses to prepare.
“We’re training upwards of six times per week,” he revealed.
“We also had a camp with the other members of the Australian team late last month, which was very helpful.”
Meanwhile, the Pendragons are looking for more participants to get involved, especially men. They will be holding a free Come and Try Day on Sunday, September 22 at Tench Reserve, Penrith.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.