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Croatia - Country Liaison

Introducing out new representative for Croatia

Submitted by Buba Babich

I am a 67-year young retiree who, since 2010 has been passionately committed to the sport of dragon boating! In 1994, my family and I arrived in Canada as refugees from Bosnia to start a happy, safe, and prosperous new life!

My first BC diagnosis was in 2008, and after two lumpectomy surgeries and radiation in 2009, I joined Breast Friends Dragon Boat Racing Team Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) in 2010. My life changed after that, and I became an avid DB paddler! I also joined a mixed team in Edmonton Dragon Boat Racing Club for 2 summers.

I retired (from government) in 2018 and by chance, I ended up going to Cartagena Colombia to “coach” their novice BCS DB team (which founded in 2018 by Colombian American - the late Catalina Palacio). My first “mission” there lasted six months (November 2018-May 2019), and second only one month (February- March 2020) before Covid disrupted everything. And so ended my amazing Colombian endeavor.

In June 2020 I got out of Colombia on a flight for Europe and ended up in Croatia. Visiting the beautiful city of Zadar, which had a good “infrastructure” for DB paddling, this gave me the idea of starting a BCS DB team there. Upon my return to Canada (November 2020), I found out that cancer had returned and this time on both sides; so, the only solution was a double mastectomy. After a surgery in February and a reconstruction in June 2021, I was still able to paddle with my team in August and September.

However, the idea of starting a team in Croatia took me back there in November 2021. It took me a couple of months to settle and figure out how to start a DB from scratch. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! Croatia did not have a dragon boat sport, nor did they know about it! But the Croatia story is amazing on all fronts because we managed to get things going and rolling in a record time: From February till September 2022, we have made an extensive list of accomplishments! Check the IBCPC Newsletters March & September 2022!

My short “coaching” experience in both Colombia and Croatia was/is priceless! There is no bigger satisfaction than to see happy, tired, sweaty, and smiling faces of these beautiful women! But what was/is most exhilarating was/is to see them gain & grow self-confidence and friendships they built for life!

With continued support from my two beautiful children, my mission will never end there is no end to goodness which DB sport brings to people! I have ambitious plans for Croatia, and I hope to achieve them with support from IBCPC and others!

Paddles up and keep smiling’ ☺!