Sandy Returns Home Bronzed
Central Coast resident Sandy Hauraki, a member of the Australian Auroras Dragon Boat team, has successfully represented Australia by bringing home two bronze medals from the 10th Asian Dragon Boat Championships in South Korea. Events included 200m, 500m and 5000m, open, women & mixed in 10’s boats and 20’s boats. The Auroras came home with six bronze medals overall with the professionals China and Tahiti Nui proving to be their strongest rivals. A remarkable achievement and the Auroras’ best ever result at this competition.
The results were even more amazing because the crew consisted of 48 dedicated men and women from all over Australia, some who often had to train in single crafts on their own until the team was brought together for three major camps in the lead up to competition.
Sandy herself has been on a long personal journey to get to South Korea. “I am absolutely chuffed to have been a part of the Australian Auroras team, as six years ago I was obese, could hardly walk and when I saw those Dragon Boats at Tacoma on the Wyong River I only dreamt that one day I may fit into one. By 2010 I had lost a heap of weight and I wondered where to go to from there. I saw a notice in the Express Advocate that year and on an impulse went down to Central Coast Dragon Boat Club Open Day and I haven’t looked back. I decided to try out for the Auroras because the fitness tests offered up a challenge. My water trial times were enough to get me into the team and I have just been amazed at my progress since then.”
From early April up until the competition in September, Sandy was getting up at 3.30am three or four times a week to get to training at Pyrmont with the NSW contingent. She also trained in her outrigger canoe on the Wyong River to make up for the times she couldn’t get to Sydney, along with three or four gym sessions per week to help develop strength and endurance. “The hard work has all paid off because I came home from South Korea with two bronze medals, a big cheesy grin AND some killer Gangnum Style moves.”
Sandy’s international career is just beginning with the Auroras preparation now underway for the World Dragon Boat Championships in Hungary in July next year. The first team camp, to be held in Canberra during January will be a further test of her fitness and paddling technique. The good news is that Sandy’s 13-year-old son, Tane Hauraki, will also try out for the junior team which could make it a family affair. “Team Hauraki is gunning for a spot in the Auroras and we are already training together to achieve this goal. I would like to thank my family, my clients and the Central Coast Dragon Boat Club for all their moral and financial support. And it’s all on again.”