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July 18, 2013

Area boat team wins gold medal

A local team has made it to the top of the podium in only its third competition at a regional event. 

The Glimmerglass Dragons dragon boat team won first place at Ithaca’s Fingerlakes Dragon Boat Festival on July 13 from a field of more than 20 teams. In 2010, the team brought home the bronze; in 2011, the silver; and in its third appearance this year, the 20-member team took home a gold medal, edging out the MSKCC Dragons of New York City just seconds before the finish line. 

Dragon boating is a sport derived from Chinese traditions stretching back more than 2,000 years. The sport features long boats with 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steerer. In a media release from the team, it is described as “a team sport in its purest form that encompasses the elements of power, speed, synchronization and endurance.”

The Finger Lakes Dragon Boat Festival is a celebration of Asian and Asian American cultures, sponsored and hosted by the Ithaca Asian American Association. 

The Glimmerglass Dragons team was founded, in part, to support Milford Central School’s Mandarin Language and Cultural Program. This program provides the opportunity for children and adults of the community to learn about and share in the culture, arts and language of China and other Asian countries. It was created in 2011 when Karen Agostino of Hartwick and a group of mothers perceived a need in the community for greater knowledge of Chinese language and culture. Agostino is also captain of the Dragons. 

With members from ages 15 to 50, the team includes area residents from Cooperstown, Milford and Oneonta, as well as paddlers from Buffalo and Montreal. According to a media release, the team is seeking to expand, and to start an area Dragon Boat club. For information about participating, contact Agostino at riagosti@aol.com. 

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