Philippine dragon boat team’s fifth gold caps explosive show

Filipinos stamp class


TAMPA BAY, Florida—The Cobra-Philippine dragon boat team surged to its fifth gold medal Sunday to cap its scintillating performance at the 10th International World Championship here.

With Filipino supporters cheering them on both banks of the Seddon Channel in Hillsborough Bay, the national paddlers ruled the Small Boat Premier Open 500-meter final with a time of two minutes and 23.535 seconds.

Australia was second, more than a boat length behind, in 2:29.299, followed by Japan (2:36.365) and Italy (2:38.884).

“We came here with just enough number of paddlers to compete in small boats, but we ended up making our best performance in this event ever,” said head coach and PDBF technical director Nestor Ilagan.

“We couldn’t have asked for more. The crowd support was overwhelming.”

Though they initially focused on the “sprint” or short events, the Nationals also garnered the gold in the men’s 1,000 meters, the 200m premier mixed, the 200m premier men and premier mixed 500m.

They also bagged the silver in the premier all-comers mixed 200m and premier all-comers Open 200m.

In Sunday’s race, the Filipinos zipped across the finish line to secure their fifth gold and then raised their paddles in victory, to the delight of the big Filipino crowd which gathered here from neighboring cities and brought them lunch, cakes and fruits.

“They (paddlers) brought the Filipino community together and, even for less than a week, gave us reason to be proud of our heritage,” said Arnold Galimba, who drove for hours from Jacksonville to watch the races with his wife Bernadette.

The Cobra PDBF team is made of drummer Anabelle Tario, steerer Ruperto Sabijon, team captain Usman Anterola, assistant captain Salvador Sumagaysay and paddlers Amina Anuddin, Ma. Ailene Padrones, Maria Theresa Realizan, Thea Bartolome, Rowena Enriquez, Marie Michelle Jennifer Ebio, Jose Ijalo, Joemar Ocquiana, Junrey Dayumot, Perlito Idorot, Raymond Morales, Romy John Dionio, Cresanto Pabulayan, Ranie Llano, Ronald Tan and Rico Pradilla.

PDBF president Marcia Cristobal led the delegation along with assistant manager Maj. Harold Cabunoc and Ilagan.

Cabunoc said their performance in the small boats, a new category in the biennial Worlds, will be a yardstick for the next tournaments.

“Our record in 2007 and 2009 [in the long boats] haven’t been broken yet,” added Cabunoc, who also helped military enlisted men in the team get their clearance from their mother units to be able to compete here.

The Philippines held the record in the men’s 200m traditional boat in 42.16 seconds in the 2007 Worlds in Sydney and broke it with a time of 40.022 two years later in the Czech Republic.

Ilagan said teams like Russia, United States and Germany sent more than 100 paddlers each to maximize their chances of raking in victories.

“Our performance is even more special because we only have a 25-man team alternating in mixed and men’s events,” said Ilagan.

The team, which got here mainly through the sponsorship of Cobra Energy Drink and Philippine Airlines, didn’t even have a women’s team.

The Filipinos will be treated by their compatriots to a tour of the city, including the Bush Garden, before returning home Wednesday.

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  • Anonymous

    Congratulations to the Philippine Dragon Boat Team! You make every Filipino proud. Those PSC and POC officials should RESIGN or be fired (if possible) by Pres. Noynoy Aquino – they’re incompetent and yet extremely arrogant!

  • Rogelio

    Congrats sa Cobra PDBF Paddlers! Maraming maraming salamat sa pinamalas ninyong tatag at determinasyon!
    Tunay po kayong bayani sa Philippine sports! Mabuhay po Kayo!!!

  • anoga

    mabuhay!! sa lahat ng member ng  Philippine dragon Boat team!! saludo ako sa inyon , kahit walang suporta ang gobyerno ng pilipinas inyo. ay pinakita ninyo ang iyong kagalingan… saludo ako sa inyo!!! di gaya ng putbol team na AZKAL puro pa porma puro pa media   puro imported pa mga player ,,ala rin talunan din.. bagay sa kanila gawing pulutan nlang…..:)

  • Mayer Quirino

    I am not rich. But  if  the government or corporations  will not still give the  Dragon Boat team the support they need, I am willing to  part with P1,000.00 of my hard earned money each time they go to competitions. As for the Azkals,  if  the time comes the government and the corporate sponsors begin to  realize that all that glitters is not gold and that a few scraps in the backyard does  not necessarily mean the mongrel team is destined  to go somewhere so that the funds start to run low, I will never part with a single centavo for them and that’s even if I am filthy rich. I do not believe in using the little funds the nation could spare for sports on a discipline which holds no bright promises for us. The presence of foreign-born Filipinos in a local team is a solid indicator we have no future in that particular sport because how come we are not calling on Fil-Ams to play chess and billiards for us? Personally, I do not see anything wrong and demeaning about foreign-born Filipinos playing for us provided that we have pure-blooded Filipinos who are as good or even better than they are.  And besides, let us admit that a heavy cloud of artificiality hangs over the team which  I suppose would prevent the whole country from identifying, taking pride and whole-heartedly.supporting them. In the case of the Azkals, their activities outside the field are making things worse for them in this respect. With the team ranked at 162 of 203 countries, they are now getting entangled in showbiz and  there is even this persistent story some of them are involved in something unsavory. I hate to imagine their behavior when and if they they hit 100 – that’s if they ever get that far.

    • Anonymous

      Mayer I don’t even think you are pure blood Filipino?  Are your parent original Malay and Chinese descent.

  • RamBoDan

    Yan ang Pinoy…Saludo ako sa inyong pinamalasna galing at tatag at tibay Mabuhay kayong lahat @ sa bumubuo ng inyong Sponsorship…maraming salamat po.

  • Anonymous

    Yan PSC, POC at iba pang sports body mga BASURA yan.  Puro inutil, pamumulitika lang ang alam, basta bata ka nila pasok ka maski bopols ka.

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