Gold in the Spanish and Andalusian championships, runners-up in the European championships: the record of the BSC Sevilla team in the canoeing dragon boat discipline is overwhelming
Her screams still resonate with her companions. No one like her, Angels of the Valleythe team captain, to encourage the canoeists. “The best asses in the Guadalquivir”. “With a smile on and painted lips.” “We paddle to celebrate life.” “Crying into the water, always ahead.” The phrases take on their full dimension with many survival stories behind them and a team with an overwhelming sporting record.
The Dragons of the Guadalquivir They have dominated almost all the championships in which they have participated. With authority. “No mercy,” say sports commentators. Sevidragon in the BSC category, the English acronym for Breast Cancer Survivor, has won important medals in the last four years. Ángeles del Valle, who died last Monday, was its founder just four years ago.
The Dragon Boat is a canoeing type of Chinese origin. It is more than two thousand years old, but it became fashionable in 1987, when China presented it as its Olympic sport at an international exhibition in Vancouver (Canada). Ten paddlers, a helmsman and a drum navigate the waters to the rhythm set by the drum located in the bow and the direction set by the helmsman located in the stern. With scientific endorsement, Dragon Boat became a category of BSC and ACB (Any Cancer Survivor).
In 2018, Ángeles del Valle was an oncology patient, overcoming a breast cancer. Her sister, a canoeist, told her about Dragon Boat and the benefits that the sport had for the disease. Before, breast cancer patients were recommended to rest. It is now scientifically supported the amount of benefits of rowing. Among other things, it improves resistance and physical preparation and prevents lymphedema, the swelling that can occur when lymph nodes are removed. Without also counting the psychological benefits. Breast cancer is already the most diagnosed in the world, with an incidence of 132 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The founder began practicing this type of sports when she learned that a European Dragon Boat championship was going to be held in Seville in July 2019 and that the host city did not have a team in the BSC category, breast cancer survivors. For this reason, on February 4, the international day against cancer, four years ago, she sent a message through WhatsApp that ended up on social networks and managed to bring together fourteen women willing to jump into the Guadalquivir river.
The team is made up of twelve, but two reserves were needed to compete. The miracle was not that but rather that on July 24, 2019, they proclaimed European runners-up. On that team the average age was 50 years old and the majority had never played sports before. Since then they have not stopped growing and plan to continue adding metals.
Nuria Tamayo, a journalist, joined the club when he was still facing radiotherapy. “You are in a depression, facing a very difficult illness and you join a group of women like you, who understand you with a look, who do not come to you with the story of ‘keep up your spirits, you are going to win, you are a fighter.’ and all that stuff that bothers us cancer patients so much. What’s left for you is to say go ahead, come on, let’s row, enjoy, live,” says Tamayo, who also narrates the feat that involves women who, for the most part, had not played sports before, become high-level athletes. performance, capable of overcoming intense weekly training. Del Valle was guilty of this example of overcoming.
They soon became “the mistresses” of the Guadalquivir and began to add medals with their “shovels of life”. In the words of the team members, that became “a blessed madness.” Del Valle was “the great boss”, “the reference”, the woman capable of making “even the ugliest moments beautiful”, say her colleagues.
For her, behind each medal “there is moments of happiness and strength”. The team’s gratitude to its founder, who died of cancer this week, is palpable in every word, in every memory, in every gesture. They promise that they will always be with her, at her side and that this “very valuable” woman, to whom they will pay tribute on Sunday on the boat, training, was “an angel.” that she gave them “a tumble & rdquor; to the lives of many of these canoeists who were overcoming the disease or were already survivors of the oncological process.
“Pure magic” to encourage them by shouting on the boat or by convincing them that they could do much more than they thought they were capable of. “She launched a machinery that contributed a lot to many people who followed her in her project,” the members of Sevidragon continue to say, defining it as “pure energy.” “She taught us that life is a race, that you have to enjoy every stroke. and don’t look around or at anyone, enjoy and that’s it,” says another classmate.
“She knew how to get the best out of each of us, to sit in the boat so that we could contribute the most. She was a genius knowing how to put together teams.”
Rocío Fernández, another member of the club, wanted to write this memory of the dragons to her boss: “Ángeles He taught us the freedom of feeling the river, the beauty of contemplating its waters, of looking at the city and its grandeur, crossing the bridges with his energetic voice ‘The smile on and the painted lips’. Those of us who have been lucky enough to know you and share with you have learned from your courage, bravery, strength, leadership and commitment. You are an exemplary woman, full of sensitivity and love, of knowing looks, of smiles that have taught us to live, without fears, without limits and always language. You are who we would like to be because of so much goodness that you have shared with us in your life. There are women who fight one day and are good; There are women who fight many days and are exceptional; But there are women who fight all their lives and those are the essential ones. We stay with this your teaching so that wherever you are, you feel at peace. May your soul fly high, dear and beloved boss.”
They will continue training and winning championships. Her next appointments are in Madrid and Murcia. Her team is still open to all dragons who want to sign up.