Master dragon boat trainer comes to T&T for coaching clinic

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Master dragon boat trainer Connie Flesuras is currently in Trinidad, leading an intense dragon boat coaching and paddling clinic with dozens of students and coaches from the North East.

Flesuras is head of Dragon Boat Training Inc, based in Portland, Oregon. Her visit is supported by a grant from the US Embassy to the North Eastern Dragon Boaters Aassociation (NEDBA), which has participated in dragon boat racing activities since 2012.

The clinic aims to empower youths who want to become dragon boat racing coaches. More than 40 youths and 20 coaches from the Guaico Secondary School, Northeastern College, Sangre Grande Secondary School, Matura Police Youth Club, Bishop Anstey High School East and Trinity College East, will learn skills in paddling, coaching and caller/drumming. The sessions will be both theoretical and practical, with the practical workshops taking place at Paragon Sports and Cultural Club.

Shallona Shallowe, a director at NEDBA and a 2013 Fellow of the Community Solutions programme, which was sponsored by the Bureau of the Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, said: “After working with Girls Inc in Houston, Texas, inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold, I vowed when I returned home to Trinidad to focus my work on building sport leadership amongst rural women and increasing female participation in sports.

“We are particularly pleased with the number of female paddlers and coaches who are participating in the programme. Women are often underrepresented in sport leadership activities and this training is an opportunity to get them involved at the coaching level.”

The training sessions led by Flesuras are an excellent opportunity for the participants to build on their skills, especially as many of them seek to participate in upcoming local dragon boat racing regattas and at the 2nd Pan American Dragon Boat Championships in Welland, Ontario, according to Shallowe.

“The participants are very enthusiastic,” Flesuras said in anticipation of her visit.

“I look forward to sharing my skills and knowledge and hearing about their experiences dragon boating in the Salybia River. On Thursday and Sunday we will see them put their skills to the test as we close the programme.”

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​aDragon Boat Training Inc is proudly led by Connie Flesuras. Connie brings 20 years of dragon boat paddling, team and club management, coaching, and drumming experience to the company. As a founding, and still active member of Wasabi Paddling Club in Portland, Oregon, one of the largest paddling clubs in the US, she is ready to share a wealth of knowledge about the sport with you and your club.

Connie brings experience in club management and crew training. She works closely with many US dragon boat paddling clubs to enrich and improve the paddling experiences for their members. She is especially proud of the opportunity to work with the Breast Cancer Survivor paddling community since 1993. She helped to create the first breast cancer survivor dragon boat team in the US.

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