Sports » Features

Pemberton dragon boats on top once again


The town of Pemberton sent five teams to the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver last weekend, including the 10-time defending champion junior Laoyam Eagles team, the Laoyam Falcons development team, the Bald Eagles mixed team, the Pemberton Men and the Pemberton Women.

The Laoyam Eagles got off to a strong start in the Junior Division, winning their qualifier heat by just over 17 seconds. The Laoyam Falcons finished second out of six teams in their qualifier, less than three seconds behind the winners.

The Eagles went on to win their first race, this time by more than 10 seconds, while the Falcons were second once again in a different race.

With convincing wins in their first two races the Eagles won their semi-final race, while the Falcons placed fourth in their heat to be relegated to the small final. That set up the Rogers A Championship final, where the Laoyam Eagles claimed their 11 th consecutive junior title with their fastest time of the weekend, almost four seconds ahead of the San Francisco Community Youth Centre team, and nearly five seconds ahead of Wasabi Kraken. Eric Hamber Eternal Dragon, the Eagles' closest competitors in recent years, had to settle for fifth in that race.

Meanwhile the Falcons pulled together a solid race in the Canadian Armed Forces B Championship, placing first overall in the small final by less than 0.3 seconds over the Strathcona team to place seventh overall.

The Pemberton Women's team also had a solid weekend. They placed second in the first qualifier, second in their first competitive race, first in the competitive division semi-finals, and then second in the Rio Tinto Alcan Competitive A Championship by just seven-tenths of a second. They also entered the 1,000 metre Women's Division Guts and Glory finals, where they again placed second.

The Pemberton Bald Eagles, which included men, women and juniors, got off to a strong start with a win in the qualifier, but placed fifth in their first competitive race. They still moved into the semi-final round, where they placed third to move into the Concord Pacific Competitive B final. They ended up second in that category, just 0.35 seconds back of the leaders.

The consolation was a first place finish in the 1,000-metre Guts and Glory race for the B group.

The Pemberton Men placed third in the Open Semi-Final race, then fifth in the Open Championship.