The newly formed Indian dragon boat team bagged six silver and three bronze medals at the recently concluded ACC Asian Dragon Boat Championship in Pattaya (Feb 1-7).
The Indian dragon boat mixed team at the start of the race
The Indian team, in its maiden appearance, won silver in 10 paddler- (Mixed) 500 metres, 10 paddler (women) 2000 metres, 10 paddler (mixed) 2000 metres, 10 paddler (mixed) 200 metres, 20 paddler (India+Malaysia) men's 200 metres and five paddler (mixed) 200 metres event.
While the team managed three bronze in 10 paddler (women) 200 metres, 10 paddler (men) 200 metres and 10 paddler (women) 500 metres. "It was a great feeling winning against experienced teams like Thailand and Chinese Taipae. Being a kayaking and canoeing enthusiast, I switched to dragon boat event only for this event," said 17-year-old Yashvardhan Patwari.
Meanwhile, Kaustubh Khade, who was part of the team that won in the 500 meters men's event and 200 metres mixed event, added: "If we can win so many medals in our maiden experience, I'm sure if we work hard, we can win gold next time."
Rajiv Bhatia, International Canoe Federation Dragon official and director of Rae Sport, who coached Kaustubh, Yashvardhan and Karan K, was proud of their achievement. "This is the first time we've participated and we have done so well. I'm proud of my boys and the team."