Dragon boating: Ex-national Linsay Tan relishes 'new racing experience' with Singapore Paddle Club

The Singapore Paddle Club's dragon boaters. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SINGAPORE PADDLE CLUB

SINGAPORE - Linsay Tan left the national dragon boating team in 2014, but retained her passion for the sport.

The 25-year-old joined the Singapore Paddle Club later that year and is now its women's captain.

Last month, she competed at the Club Crew World Championships in Hungary for the third time - the biennial event is considered the biggest dragon boating event for club teams who are not involved in the national set-ups.

She clinched three silver and two bronze medals as the club won a total of nine medals, including two golds in the Senior A mixed 200m and Senior A mixed 2,000m races.

Tan, who works in the finance industry, told The Straits Times: "We were looking at podium finishes for most races and had some expectations as we took part in 20 categories, quite a big number compared to our previous campaigns."

This year's July 17-22 championships attracted 6,000 paddlers, including 48 from her club.

Tan said the club, whose members encompass 29 nationalities, has given her a new racing experience as she has competed against more Caucasians who are of bigger build. She added with a laugh that at 1.6m, she is "one of the smaller-built ones" in her team.

"I just have to make an extra effort to reach out," said Tan, referring to the position for paddlers to set up their stroke.

Despite the different nationalities and cultures within her team, Tan said camaraderie and unity are among their biggest strengths.

"(My team-mates) are very direct in their communication and that's one thing I really like," she added.

"The more senior ones are also friendly and really care for the young paddlers, and are always there to help if you need it."

Being in the same boat makes the competitiveness and feeling of satisfaction after completing a race - what Tan loves about dragon boating - even more enjoyable.

She said: "It's a very different feeling when you're all paddling in a boat and everyone is working towards the same goal - you can't find it in an individual sport."

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