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Dragon boat team heading to Toronto

After months of intense training, 22 medical students are eager to race in the 25th Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival later this month. The annual international race and festival is expected to draw 200 teams and 5000 athletes from around the world.

Founded in 2010 by two medical students, the Queen’s School of Medicine’s dragon boat team is currently coached by Peng Yu and Amanda Murdoch. Team members have been preparing since September, doing twice-weekly strength training and water practices since April.

The team has competed twice before in the Toronto international race, winning the gold medal in their division in 2011 and finishing two tiers higher in 2012. Team members are striving to advance even further in this year’s competition.

In addition to surpassing last year’s performance, the team’s objectives are to model healthy living through physical activity, promote a sense of community and to enter premier competitions.

“With increasing focus on the mental well-being of post-secondary students, we believe that participation in physical activity is a great way to achieve balance in our academic lives,” says Yan Xu, coordinator of the team. “We want to promote a healthy community and build the sort of resiliency that was outlined in the report of the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health.”

Active in over 40 countries, Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese sport that requires intense physical fitness, teamwork and commitment. A typical team is comprised of approximately 20 paddlers, one caller, and one sweep to steer the boat down the waterway.

The Queen's School of Medicine's dragon boat team recieved support this year from the Student Initiative Fund.