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Veterans Celebrate Lunar New Year with Dragon Boat Races in Australia

Thanks to our partnership with the Australian Dragon Boat Federation, the local engagement team at Invictus Australia is constantly facilitating come and try events across the country. A community favorite, veterans and family members who attend these events often fall in love with the sport, continuing to keep their paddles drawn by participating in local club events.  

There are so many reasons to love dragon boating. It’s a great cardiovascular workout that can help improve endurance, strength, and overall fitness. For many, it is also considered a great stress reliever as the rhythmic paddling motions and the sound of the drum can be very calming and meditative.

However, what makes this an Invictus Australia favourite is the teamwork. Working in large groups means that veterans and family members who take part can form connections and feel a sense of community when they are paddling.  
To mark Lunar New Year, Team Veteran, powered by Invictus Australia, were invited to participate in Regattas and Races in NSW, WA and SA to reap the benefits of this inclusive, fun sport.  

SYDNEY LUNAR NEW YEAR dragon boat festival 

Dragon Boat NSW hosted the annual Sydney Lunar New Year Dragon Boats Festival at Darling Harbour, with Team Veteran ready to paddle their way to the finish in one of the races. We were delighted to have Chris Miles, former- serving veteran and Australian Dragon Boat Foundation Ambassador for Invictus Australia join Team Veteran’s boat as the sweep. 

Showing their support was infrastructure service provider Ventia, represented by Michelle McDonald, a veteran spouse who was keen to experience Dragon Boating for the first time.  

“My dragon Boat racing afternoon with Team Veteran, Invictus Australia was a wonderful insight to the amazing work they do to bring people together and facilitate injured veterans and their families continuing to participate in a sport they love. The welcoming team spirit, pride and sense of connection is a testament to the passion the Invictus Australia team puts into bringing a diverse group of people together to create a supportive community for veterans and their families” 

Michelle McDonald (far left) poses with fellow Team Veteran Dragon Boating competitors

It was a great experience for the Team, who came together from local clubs across the state to represent Invictus Australia and show the event what true camaraderie and teamwork means.   

lunar new year regatta south australia 

After dedicated Team Veteran training sessions and the support from Dragon Boating Ambassador for Invictus Australia Tracey Gardiner, there was plenty of interest from our South Australian veterans and family members to compete in the local Lunar New Year Regatta. As such, an impressive five Team Veteran boats competed in the event.  

Team Veteran in SA training for their Dragon Boating Regatta

Despite having only three training sessions together, the teams displayed remarkable cohesion, clinching top positions in several categories:

Opens – 4th place 
Ladies – 1st place 
Mixed – 1st and 4th place 
Juniors – 3rd place 

west australian dragon boat festival

Most recently, our Western Australia defence community donned their black and yellow Team Veteran shirts and took part in the state’s Dragon Boating Festival. Local veteran’s and their family members had the opportunity to compete with local clubs, learning from the experts and streamlining their paddling skills.  

After being treated to a Lunar New Year performance which included a traditional Dragon dance, Team Veteran was represented in many of the local club boats. Veteran’s and their families got out on the water after minimal training, however were still fierce competitors, becoming valued members of the team boats they were a part of. 

Invictus Australia Team Veteran members training for the West Australian Dragon Boat Festival

Across all events happening around the country, the camraderie and sportsmanship underpinning Team Veteran shone through, mirroring the ethos of defence communities in Australia.  

We regularly have Dragon Boating events happening across the country, plus so many more sports. To get involved in one near you. Sign up to your local facebook group or head to our events page.  

These events would not have been possible without Invictus Australia’s partnership with the Australian Dragon Boat Federation. To read more about this partnership, click here.  

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