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Team Wasabi paddles with Iranian team

by: submitted photo, PADDLERS – Members of the Wasabi Paddling Club pose with the Iranian team at the Dragon Boat Racing World Champion-ships.

Women from Wasabi Paddling Club, along with women from several paddling clubs in California, splashed their way to a silver medal as Team USA at the 2006 ICF (International Canoe Federation) Dragon Boat Racing World Championships.

They competed in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, from Sept. 26-Oct. 2 against teams from all over the world, and collected silver medals in the 500-meter race and bronze medals in the 1000-meter event.

The team also took fourth in the 2000-meter and 250-meter 10-person dragon boat races, and a fifth-place finish in the 250-meter race in the regular 20-person dragon boat.

The highlight of the team's trip, however, was racing with and meeting the women's team from Iran.

One of the women chaperones for the Iranian team told Team USA women's coach Connie Flesuras, 'The US and Iran are not friendly, but we as people can be friends.'

Flesuras said, 'This is world peace, a few people at a time.'

Posing with the American and Iranian flags together was a moving moment for the women of both countries and symbolic of what our nations could achieve by coming together in harmony.

Wasabi is housed on the east bank of the Willamette River at 29 S.E. Clay, on the corner of S.E. Water and Clay streets.

For more information about the club, or if you would like to try out paddling on one of the teams, check out Wasabi's web site at www.wasabiusa.org