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Blind Rowers Add Perspective To Competition

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By Peter Granitz

This weekends D.C. Dragon Boat Festival showcased a new team that is quickly gaining recognition and praise from other competitors. The 'Outta Sight Dragons' isn't out to win tournaments, as much as they'd like to open people's eyes.

20 people, most visually impaired, sit in rows of two in the long, sleek boats, rowing in unison as a drummer pounds away keeping the cadence.

Oral Miller says the first time he stepped into one of the boats was earlier this month when someone asked him to join a team of blind rowers. The retired disability-rights attorney says he rowed in college, but admits that was some time ago.

"We weren't, obviously, the fastest, because many of the groups here are practicing all year, they're experienced, they're young. We don't have any super-young people, we have youngish people and several of us who are a bit older," says Miller.

Miller says he hopes to continue with Dragon Boating as does his teammate Ed Bordley.

"I would expect that as people get better, that we'll have more mixed teams and blind folks participating with other teams," he says.

A blind team from Oregon will compete in China later this year. Bordley says that's not a bad goal.

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