News

Ingersoll teen representing Canada at world event

By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

IDCI student Logan Johnston, 15, will be among those representing Canada at the International Dragon Boat Federation 13th World Nations Championships in France this summer. SUBMITTED PHOTO

IDCI student Logan Johnston, 15, will be among those representing Canada at the International Dragon Boat Federation 13th World Nations Championships in France this summer. SUBMITTED PHOTO

An Ingersoll teen will be among those representing Canada at the International Dragon Boat Federation 13th World Nations Championships in France this summer.

 

Logan Johnston, 15, will race with Canada's junior team at Divonne-Les-Bains, France, where the junior and under-24 championships will be held July 27 to 30.

 

Johnston was one of 150 junior dragon boaters from across Canada who tried out for the national team. He said he was excited when he learned that he was one of 44 who made the final cut after being assessed by coaches in Vancouver in May.

 

“I kind of froze up for a few seconds,” said Johnston about his reaction to learning he had made the team. “It feels amazing. Every time someone asks me (about it) it still feels like a dream. I'm just excited to represent Canada.”

 

His father, Geoff Johnston, is a coach with the Woodstock Junior Dragon Boat Club, where Logan became a member at 10-years-old after starting out as a volunteer at a dragon boat festival in Pickering.

 

In 2016, Logan earned medals at the Canadian National Dragon Boat Race.

 

Besides being a competitor, Logan works at some dragon boat festivals.

 

He said what he enjoys about dragon boat racing is that it's a fun activity.

 

“You get to be outside, meet people and it gives you a good workout,” said the IDCI student. “I've been doing it for years and I just love it.”

 

While there is a “short boat” of 10 paddlers, the full size version of the narrow craft holds 20 paddlers in two rows with a drummer at the front and a person at the back who steers.

 

“It's all about synchronization,” said Geoff Johnston, who will be going to France to cheer on his son.

 

Capable of paddling on either the left or the right hand side of the boat, Logan said he is getting as much time on the water as possible to prepare for the world championships.

 

Spread out across the country, members of Canada's junior team will only have a couple of days to get to know and work with each other in France before competition begins.

 

The teams will compete in three events with three heats each, including a 200 metre paddle, a 500 metre paddle and a two kilometre paddle.

 

“You race a tremendous amount in three days,” said Geoff Johnston.

 

He said Canada usually fares well at international competitions.

 

“Typically, Canada comes away with a lot of medals.”

 

Having got his start in the sport in a “fun” league, Geoff Johnston said what he likes about the sport is that sinning is a total team effort.

 

“There are no superstars,” he said. “You all paddle in series and in sequence together.”

 

The athletes are responsible for paying their own way to compete in France and Logan's parents have organized a booster night event at Boston Pizza in Woodstock from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 25.

 

Tickets are $20 per person for an all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta bar, with 50 per cent of the proceeds supporting Logan's trip to France.

 

Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling the Johnstons at 519-425-2601.

 

With a budget of about $7,000 to cover all of Logan's expenses, donations are also being accepted.

 

Anyone interested in trying dragon boat racing can turn up when the Woodstock Junior Dragon Boat Club practices in Woodstock's Roth Park on Sundays between 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.