MANNING Dragon Boat Club member Jade Page flew out with the Australian Dragon Boat team for Thailand this week to compete with the under 16 team the world championships.
After much training and work on fitness, Jade was excited that the championships are getting close.
On arrival the team will undertake final training preparations prior to an opening ceremony on August 20.
"It will be the biggest world championships in dragon boat racing with more than 29 countries and 3400 athletes competing. Some of our toughest competition will be from Canada and Thailand," Jade explained.
"We will be competing in 2000m, 1000m, 500m and 200m races over five days. For each distance I hope to be competing in the mixed and women's teams. It will be exhausting, but we have been working hard to be ready for this event."
After selection in September last year, Jade has been working hard to improve her fitness and perfecting her paddling style. She thanks some amazing people who have helped to get her ready for the championships. "We have great junior Australian coaches with Mary Weaver from Sydney and Rex Tindal from Perth who provide great advice and support to each of us in the team."
Manning River Dragon Boat coaches Warren Blanch, Maureen Pratten and Deb Ashwell have worked closely with Jade to improve her paddling.
"Deb even travelled to Sydney with me to attend a training session to learn the team's paddling techniques,'' Jade said.
"I remember it was freezing and dark in the morning when we paddled that day and Deb was rugged up on the boat ready to learn. I was so grateful for her assistance."
Having to train in winter is difficult as it is often cold and dark. Jade was very thankful to all the members of the Manning River Dragon Boat Club who trained with her on the water and always provided words of support.
"I am so lucky to be part of such a supportive club," she smiled.
Improving fitness was an important part of Jade's training. Hugh McLeod from Manning indoor rowing took up the challenge to improve Jade's fitness. Hugh provided excellent advice which resulted in improved benchmarks in her 2km fitness test.
"Indoor rowing has me ready to compete in all of the distances we will be racing in Thailand. Thanks also to the team I row with, you have been so supportive."
Jade is also appreciative of her family. Her grandmother, Dawn Calvin took to baking goodies as fundraising for her trip.
"Nan does amazing cooking. I am so thankful for her assistance. While mum and my brother Sean, have been great support and regular taxi drivers around town, to Sydney and even Queensland."
"I have been so lucky to have such an amazing team of people get me ready for Thailand. I just wanted to say thanks! I will let you know how we go."