Purple Warriors is a charity that uses the sport of Dragon Boating to support rehabilitation for its members. At the beginning of 2017, Team Ethos generously donated £5,000 towards the annual running costs of Purple Warriors. Some of the funds have already been used as follows:

  • Equipment purchases: adaptive equipment for those who need it; speaker system for race boats; video camera for technique analysis; laser printer
  • Club annual insurance
  • membership of the British Dragon Boat Racing Association (mandatory for those wishing to participate in regattas and the National Championships)
  • support to those members who are financially challenged to the extent this limits their participation

Projecting forwards to end-2017, and thanks mainly to the Team Ethos grant, Purple Warriorshas sufficient funds in place to meet anticipated expenditure on operational costs which is fantastic.
Key achievements 1 January – 30 June 2017

  • Membership continues to increase and stood at 61 at 30 June 2017.
  • Purple Warriors delivered seven ‘centralised’ training sessions (plus, on 3 July, a taster session for some of the permanent staff of Combat Stress).
  • Purple Warriors competed in a total of 19 races (nine were in Hong Kong).
  • In June, Purple Warriors competed in the London Hong Kong Regatta and won the charity shield.
  • Also in June, Purple Warriors competed in the 2017 Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Festival and performed well above expectations (bringing home a bronze medal from the para-dragon category but also delivering excellent results in the ‘unimpaired’ categories). See below for more information on the trip.
  • As a result of its performance in Hong Kong, witnessed by the President of, and executive managers from, the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), Purple Warriors has had its invitation to the 2018 World Club Crew Championships (in Szeged, Hungary) strongly reconfirmed. The Chairman of Purple Warriors has also been invited to chair the IDBF panel on dragon boating with disabilities.

Looking ahead
Purple Warriors is planning to participate in regattas in London and Stockton-On-Tees and also in the British National Championships (in Nottingham). It also has five more centralised training sessions in the calendar. After the National Championships, Purple Warriors will begin to plan for its participation in the 2018 World Club Crew Championships.

Hong Kong Racing Report

Purple Warriors took a team of 20 paddlers to Hong Kong and spent a total of eight wonderful days there (29 May – 6 June). Before the racing itself, we did some dragon boat training for two days with the Hong Kong Marine Police – a truly humbling experience to be looked after as magnificently as we were. They also gave us rare insights into their work and took us out in one of their patrol boats. The racing took place over three days. On Day 1 (the Friday), we competed in the International Small Boat (10 paddlers) Mixed races against 31 other international crews, but as the only impaired crew. We reached the final!

On Day 2 (the Saturday), it was the turn of our Open crew in the standard boat (up to 18 paddlers), against 23 other international teams. We reached the semi-finals with the 13th fastest time overall. Again, we were the only impaired crew.

On Day 3 (the Sunday), we raced in two categories. First up was the International Grand Open, which pitted the top 16 international crews against the top 16 crews from Hong Kong. We had qualified based on our performance on Day 2. The team did incredibly well to make the semi-final stage. Again, we were the only impaired crew. Finally, we raced, for the first time, against other impaired crews in the International Paradragon category. By now our paddlers had completed more races than those of almost any other crew and were running on adrenaline only. With the determination of their military heritage, they eked out their final reserves of energy, locked their minds into a “we can do this mode” and won a convincing BRONZE medal! Cue wild celebrations!

The next day the team was hosted to a function by the Royal British Legion in Hong Kong and were honoured to meet a 97 year old Hong Kong Chinese veteran who fought against the Japanese in WWII in the defence of Hong Kong. Aside from the racing, everyone deemed this to have been the highlight of the trip.

The team performed beyond the wildest expectations and were incredible ambassadors throughout for HM Forces, Great Britain, and impaired people everywhere. They won new friends from around the world and deep affection and admiration from all those present. An experience of a lifetime, made possible only through the kind generosity of our sponsors.

Image and text by kind permission of Purple Warriors

Published: 2 August 2017

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