Four Forza Dragon Boat Club Bunbury take gold at 2019 Australian National Championships

Forza Dragon Boat Club Bunbury members Shani Golden, Mark Kuzin, Orlando Fazzolari, and Brad Brooksby. Photo: Supplied.
Forza Dragon Boat Club Bunbury members Shani Golden, Mark Kuzin, Orlando Fazzolari, and Brad Brooksby. Photo: Supplied.

Four Forza Dragon Boat Club Bunbury members won medals at the 2019 Australian National Championships in Canberra over the Easter long weekend.

The event attracted nearly 3000 elite paddling athletes from all over the country.

The state versus state races were run over 500 metres for women, men, and mixed crews in a variety of age groups, from Juniors (under 18 years) to Senior C (over 60 years).

Shani Golden, Brad Brooksby, Orlando Fazzolari, and Mark Kusin had to undertake additional training outside of their club, attend four state training camps, and pass fitness tests to get selected for Western Australia's 32-person squad.

Mark had the honour of being the WA Flag Bearer at the opening ceremony, recognition for his 25 years in WA dragon boating.

Golden won a silver medal in the Senior A Women's event.

The team launched off the start line and powered to the lead before the 50m mark, maintaining their lead for the next 400m before Queensland snatched victory in the final few strokes.

"It was an outstanding effort, great to add a silver medal to the bronze I won last year and looking forward to taking our strong Forza women to next year's event in Sydney for a chance at the gold," Golden said.

Brooksby, Fazzolari, and Kusin picked up gold with the Senior A Men's division.

Like the women, they powered off the start line to establish a clear lead over the other five crews.

The east coast states made their charge at the 400m mark, eating into WA's lead.

Crossing the line in a blanket finish, the first four teams were all within one second of each other.

WA claimed the second fastest 500m time overall, over the five days of racing.

"Very proud to be part of the state team and their outstanding win. We believe this is the first gold medal WA has won in 24 years of state versus state competition," Brooksby said.

"This gold medal makes a full set of bronze, silver, and gold for me. We are looking forward to going to Sydney to defend our title."

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