Former Olympian inspires Winnipeg cancer survivors in Dragon Boat coaching session

Kamini Jain, who was on Canada’s Olympic Sprint Kayak team in 2000 and 2004, stopped in on Winnipeg’s Chemo Savvy Dragon Boat Team on Saturday for a special coaching session.

The team is made up entirely of breast cancer survivors. Jain coached the women on better paddling techniques,  while helping them build more strength.

She’s been coaching the group for years now and said she was excited to be back. “The physicality that they’re taking in — we’re working a lot on technique to be really efficient, so then they’ll be faster and they’ll have more fun because their bodies will feel better as they do it.”

Jain said she’s been planning this visit since before the pandemic and it’s her third time in Winnipeg. The Chemo Savvy team has been paddling for over 25 years.

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There are over 100 active members on the team and they are all so excited to get the opportunity to train with the best, said Tammy Mayer, president of Chemo Savy.

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“A lot of these women who were never in a sport, they weren’t in a team before. This is their first time out in the water, and they get that opportunity to train with someone who’s incredible,” she said.

Mayer said dragon boating is so important for survivors because it’s great for them to move their upper body. “So that’s why chemo savvy got together 25 years ago. And we’re still here today and strong. We compete in various places around the world.”

Additionally, she said it helps the survivors feel included and it gives them a feeling of camaraderie and any survivors are welcome to join simply by heading to the website.

“Anyone out there that has battled that deadly disease and wants to join a team that focuses on fitness, on camaraderie, on sisterhood, they can do that,” she said.

Arsalan Saeed / Global News

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