Withycombe mum makes team GB

PUBLISHED: 14:05 24 June 2011




A Withycombe mum has been picked to represent Great Britain in the world championships of one of the oldest watersports in the world - just eight months after taking up the sport.

But, unless she finds a sponsor, her dreams of world glory could end before it even begins.

Amanda Taylor-Broadhurst, 43, of Sturges Road, has been picked to join the over-40s’ senior ladies’ team at the Dragon Boat World Championships in Tampa, Florida, in August.

Dragon boat racing began in China more than 2,000 years ago – and today involves teams of up to 20 paddlers in a 40ft-long boat with a drummer and helm.

And Amanda is about to represent her country, despite suffering from a rare illness the whole of the previous year – an illness she believed she would never recover from.

Amanda, a professional podiatrist and a mum of two boys, only began in the sport when she volunteered to help out a short-handed crew for a charity race last year.

She joined the Exe-Calibre Dragon Boat Racing Club, based at Haven Banks in Exeter, last October after ‘the drums, shouting and colourful boats’ made it impossible to resist. Just eight months later, she was invited to take part in time trials in London and, to her astonishment, asked to join the team.

Amanda’s selection for the GB team follows a horrific 2009 in which she contracted Labyrinthitss – a rare, debilitating ear infection that affects balance and causes nausea and anxiety.

Amanda said: “After contracting Labyrinthitss and being unwell for 12 months, I thought I’d never be active again.

“The opportunity to be part of an elite racing team is wonderful and being able to wear the GB kit is something I’m immensely proud of.”

But, despite recognition, the BDA, as a non-Olympic sport, has yet to receive any grant aid towards either the development of the sport or to support its very successful crews at international level.

Amanda is now looking for sponsors to help her raise funds to attend the championships: “The flights, accommodation and kit cost more than £2,000, so, if any businesses or individuals could help with something, however small, I would be very grateful.”

If you help, call Amanda on: 07855 001903.

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