PH tops Asian dragon boat tilt
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Energized by a frenetic hometown crowd, the Philippine dragon boat team exceeded its target and ruled the 2016 Asian Dragon Boat Championships here.
The Filipino paddlers punctuated their campaign with two more gold medals yesterday for a total haul of five golds that proved enough for the overall title.
“Before the races, I told myself that we should already be happy with three gold medals,” said head coach Len Escollante. “Surprisingly, we got more than what we came here for.”
Over a thousand supporters lined up the Baywalk seaside area of this tourist haven as the Filipinos ruled the 20-seater standard men’s 200m and small boat men’s 200m events.
They earlier won gold medals in the 20-seater men’s 500m, 10-seater junior mixed 500m and small boat women’s 200m races on top of two silver medals in the small boat men’s and women’s 500m of the two-day event.
“More than the medals that we’ve won, our paddlers are in high spirits after they redeemed themselves,” said Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonne Go, who headed the organizing committee along with Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Escollante.
It was sweet redemption indeed following a gold-medal dearth in the Southeast Asian Games last year in Singapore practically against the same paddlers from Thailand and Indonesia.
The Filipinos clocked 46.935 seconds in the standard men’s 200m to defeat Chinese Taipei (49.692) in the finale before another golden finish in the small boat men’s 200m where they sank Japan (48.681) and Indonesia (48.903) with a time of 46.808 seconds.
Overall, the Philippines, which placed second to Chinese Taipei in the 10-seater junior mixed 200m, wound up with five gold and three silver medals in eight events.
Coach Diomedes Manalo attributed the string of victories to the early preparation of the Filipino paddlers and their familiarity of the course.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Puerto Princesa International Club Crew Championships kicked off yesterday.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.