PNG woman represents US in paddling

A Papua New Guinean has created history by representing the US in paddling in China, where she won 6 bronze and a silver medal.

Kila Vare-Nixon from Elevala, Poreporena, in the nation’s capital, told Loop PNG that faith and her vision to represent US were the main drive that kept her on track to achieve her dreams.

“Two years ago, I tried out for team USA but didn't know what I was doing,” says Vare-Nixon.

“I wanted to find out what it would take to make team USA so I came home and went to work and started training for it.

“I had faith that I would make the team and had a vision so then, I went to work with the help of my husband, a US Army retired intelligence first sergeant, who helped me train.”

She then attended a couple of training camps and time trial, and was tested on a single canoe 425m course.

In June this year, she was selected to go to China with the Sen A women's Crew.  

Four weeks later, she was invited to attend a mixed crew training camp where she was selected to paddle for the coed team, which paves the way for her next race.  

“To cut a long story short, without the help and the backing of my community network of lovely people and family members here and across the world, I could not have made it to China therefore I thank them for supporting me and appreciate their support.”

Vare-Nixon did 19 races in five days in Kunming, China, where the elevation was 6,000 feet. 

She grew up in Townsville, QLD, Australia, but has been living in Kileen, Texas, since 2003.

Vare-Nixon and her husband own an EJK boxing & fitness training centre in Kileen, where they train beginner to professional boxers (even kids) to professional and amateur athletes alike.

Her passion for paddling makes her drive 3.5 hours to Houston, Texas, on the weekends to train in any type of water sports – outrigger, C2, dragon boat, SUP, etc.

She has also competed in the Tough Mudder & the GORUCK Challenge.

Vare-Nixon is a member of Team Hokulele, which is a dragon boat team based out of Houston.

“Locally here in Killeen, I train children boxing, helping them build confidence. My passion is to give back to the community and helping children is the best feeling in the world.”

(Picture by Kila Vare-Nixon)

Freddy Mou