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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Ballina Dragon Boaters win world championships

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Shelley Cornish.

Ross Kendall

Shelley Cornish from Tintenbar has won two gold medals in the world indoor rowing championships as well as a world record time, while husband Paul Hurley chimed in with a silver medal.

Shelley won her golds in the 500 metres and the 2,000 metres for her age division and made a new world record for the 2,000 metres.

After winning the Australian Nationals and the Oceania qualifying events Shelley had set her sights on winning the 500 metres and gaining an Australian record in the 200 metres.

‘The defending champion in the 2000 metres is a great athlete and has won it five times. I didn’t think I could beat her,’ she said.

By going all the way in both events she surprised herself.

‘I just fired and when I saw I was just six metres behind the leader with 150 metres to go, I just kept hanging in there,’ Shelley said.

‘I ran her down on the last pull of the race and beat her by 0.2 of a second. It blew my mind’.

Her record time for the long distance was 7 minutes 57 seconds.

The world titles were held last week and because they were run out of Europe Shelley and Paul had to compete at night.

Paul had a week off work so he could have afternoon naps with Shelley so they were both alert for the night time racing.

Competitors in the indoor rowing virtual world championships have to connect their rowing machines to a computer and connect with the event organisers, as well as record their racing in a continuous video stream.

Paul Hurley won his silver medal in the 500 metres sprint-event and achieved a personal best in the 2000 metres.

The world title results followed the couple’s outstanding result in the Australian indoor rowing championships held on the Gold Coast last November. Paul won both the 2000 metres and 500 metre races, while Shelly won the 500 metre and the 1000 metre races setting a new Australian record.

Shelley and Paul’s medals are the result of months and months of hard work as well as training with the Ballina Dragons who introduced them to indoor rowing.

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