6 October 2013
Mark Beretta says that he has done much in sport but the former world water ski champion found his involvement in today’s Australian Masters Games’ dragon boat competition irresistible – and completely fulfilling. The only male in the Gippsland Dragons Mixed Masters 10s, the Sunrise sport presenter was in awe of his team mates’ performance.
“I’ve done a lot of things in sport I’ve really enjoyed over the years but I’ll always treasure this – that was just a golden moment,” Beretta said.
“When you slash 20 seconds off your personal best, that sums up what the Masters Games is all about. But the other thing that got me about these girls is that they are all breast cancer survivors and that this was their first time in competition together.
“Our instructions were – don’t look at anyone else, don’t look at another boat, just do your job. We didn’t care we were fourth from four. We didn’t know that. It’s just so much fun.”
Beretta, like so many others on site, was stoked by the team’s delighted reaction to its achievement, letting out repeated squeals of joy as their time was announced.
“Absolutely priceless. You’ve just got to go back to where these girls have come from as breast cancer survivors. Just a few years ago, they were just grateful to be alive. Now here they are out there with their friends competing and doing something they’d never imagined they’d do.
“And that’s the beauty of sport – living the dream – that’s gold.”
They were not the only ladies with a story on the water today, as revealed by Deni Schimana, captain of the Geelong Juggernaut and coordinator of Dragon’s Abreast Geelong. The retired nurse is herself a 10 year survivor of breast cancer and is emphatic in her belief in dragon boating as a critical component of the recovery process.
“Dragon boating allows us all a chance to get fit, have fun and some camaraderie in a team sport. I think we are a great advertisement for recognising there is a life after a diagnosis of breast cancer and that you can be fit and healthy and enjoy yourselves.
“Cancer brought us all together. We’re all survivors and for a bit of a pun we’re all in the same boat.
The women had a first and second in the heats today and are looking forward to tomorrow’s finals.
In other day two highlights:
Competition also begins in AFL football, netball, tennis and beach volleyball fours.
The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit - www.AustralianMastersGames.com
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