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These Dragon Boat Festival Paddlers Are Pure Inspiration

These Dragon Boat Festival Paddlers Are Pure Inspiration | NextTribe

Every year, Hong Kong hosts its traditional Dragon Boat Festival, which involves some hard-core rowing competition. Teams of 22 climb into long, narrow wooden boats, with carved dragons at the prow and inside it, a large drum that’s banged to help the paddlers keep their rhythm. While the strength and coordination of all the competitors is amazing, one group deserves special mention.

The Darkness Fighters, a squad of blind, mostly Boomer-age, co-ed rowers, prove that their loss of sight doesn’t lessen their athleticism. With the motto, “Challenge the impossible!” the Fighters do just that. Their dedication to rowing pulls them out of the isolation that can accompany blindness, bonds them as a team, and provides them with the pleasure of gliding across the water under their own steam.

One female Fighter, Tsang Jau Rung, 72, was interviewed about the festival, and said, ““I’m really happy to be here today because I didn’t think I would be able to do things like this,” explaining that her vision began to diminish 16 years earlier.

For anyone who needs proof that age is just a number and disability doesn’t have to spell the end of adventure, look to the Darkness Fighters and admire their fire.

Janet Siroto

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