Second gold glitters for Filipinos in the world dragon boat championships
MANILA—Even if the Philippines is not competing in standard boat competitions, the country’s dragon boat team doesn’t want to stop winning medals that are not gleaming gold.
The under-supported Philippine dragon boat team won its second gold medal in the ongoing IDBF 10th World Dragon Boat Championships in Tampa, Florida Saturday.
This counts to a total of five world titles for the Filipinos since the 2007 8th World Dragon Boat Championships.
The Filipino small boat squad clocked 57.07 seconds in race no. 58 of the three-day-old Worlds, besting Trinidad and Tobago (1:00.71) and Italy (1:03.94) in the Premier 200m mixed event.
On Thursday, the Philippines won its first gold medal by topping the 1000m Premier event in world-record fashion.
Just the same, the Filipinos topped the preliminaries of the 200m Premier mixed event (race no. 51) with a 00:55.63 clocking, with Trinidad and Tobago in second (00:57.41) and Italy third (0:59.34).
The Filipinos gun for a third gold finish in day three of competitions as they make waves in the 200m men’s event (small boat) at around 6 am Manila time Saturday.
Philippine Dragon Boat Federation Marcia Cristobal said via email the Filipinos will not compete in standard boat races. The Standard boats can fit up to 22 people while small boats can have up to 10 paddlers.
The Filipinos bagged two gold medals in the 2009 9th Worlds in Prague, Czech Republic in the 200m Premier Mixed and 200m Premier Open categories in the standard boat races.
Cristobal did not mention, though, if the reason for not competing in standard boat events was due to lack of funds. Lack of financial support and even lack of paddling equipment have hampered the Filipinos’ preparations for the Tampa Bay ‘Worlds’.
Meanwhile, California-based fundraiser Cesar Torres has been appealing to compatriots in the US to extend whatever support to the competing Filipinos.
Iloilo province-born John Bedaure has been taking photos of the competitions, while others Filipinos based in the US have traveled as far as Houston, Texas just to witness the paddlers in Florida.
Given squabbles between the PDBF and the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Federation, the Philippine Olympic Committee does not want to recognize the PDBF as an accredited national sports association (NSA) for dragon boat. Thus makes the Florida contingent “not a national team,” some say.
Posts by Filipino dragon boat fans in social networking sites lamented the POC and PSC for not recognizing the PDBF.