Seeen here in 2019, Ruth Bedell (front), team captain of Langley’s D’Fyance dragon boat team, is happy that the sport will, for the first time, include a division for 69 and older, one that she spent 5 years lobbying for. (Langley Advance Times)

Seeen here in 2019, Ruth Bedell (front), team captain of Langley’s D’Fyance dragon boat team, is happy that the sport will, for the first time, include a division for 69 and older, one that she spent 5 years lobbying for. (Langley Advance Times)

A new Canadian age division for 69-plus dragon boaters is a win for Langley’s D’Fyance team

Team captain calls creation of Senior D division a ‘major victory’

While the 2022 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships have yet to start, Langley’s team D’Fyance women’s dragon boat team is already feeling like winners.

That’s because this year, for the first time, D’Fyance, who compete out of the Fort Langley Canoe Club, will be in the new Senior D division for 69 and older competitors when the four-day national competition begins Aug. 18 at Parc Jean Drapeau in Montreal.

The new division is the result of sustained lobbying by D’Fyance team captain Ruth Bedell and fellow dragon boaters.

“We have been fighting for five years to get a Senior D division for 69 and over,” Bedell told the Langley Advance Times.

“It is a major victory,” the Walnut Grove resident commented.

Bedell said during the years of lobbying, the reluctance by the sport administrators to approve a division for that age range wasn’t clear.

“I guess they didn’t think there would be enough teams,” Bedell remarked.

VIDEO: On the lookout for paddlers, 70-plus

Bedell, who is 75, heads a team of 27 paddlers aged 69 to 82 and reports there are teams from White Rock and Abbotsford in the same age range.

Team D’Fyance from the Fort Langley Canoe Club will be competing in the new dragon boat division for 69 and up competitors at the 2022 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships at Parc Jean Drapeau in Montreal from Aug. 18 – 21. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Team D’Fyance from the Fort Langley Canoe Club will be competing in the new dragon boat division for 69 and up competitors at the 2022 Canadian Dragon Boat Championships at Parc Jean Drapeau in Montreal from Aug. 18 – 21. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

In March, a “Ruth Bedell Senior D Perpetual Trophy” was created by Dragon Boat Canada “in recognition of the determined work that Ruth has undertaken to have the Senior D category viable across Canada and established at the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships.”

It will be awarded to the overall top ranking Canadian Senior D (69-plus) women’s team at the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships, starting this year.

“I’m a little embarrassed about that,” Bedell remarked.

The next step, she said, is to get the Senior D 69-plus division recognized internationally, ideally in time for the world championships, to be in Ravenna, Italy in 2024.

RELATED: Age is just a number for B.C. dragon boat champions

For more information on the Fort Langley Canoe Club and drop-in dragon boat sessions, visit

https://www.fortlangleycanoeclub.ca.


Have a story tip? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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