Philippine paddlers fight odds to prove worth
TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA—Aside from years of hard work and undeniable talent, the motivation to prove itself is fueling the Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat team’s explosive performance in the 10th International World Championship here.
“Things are going well for us when we are fighting the odds,” said Philippine Dragon Boat Federation president Marcia Cristobal.
Last year, the team was denied a chance to compete in the Guangzhou Asian Games due to a technicality although the 2007 and 2009 world champion team acquitted themselves well in the tryouts held at the La Mesa dam reservoir.
The PDBF also lost funding from the Philippine Sports Commission after the Philippine Olympic Committee changed its status as national sports association and placed it under the Philippine Canoe/Kayak Federation.
The POC decision stemmed from the fact that the International Dragon Boat Federation—of which the PDBF is a founding member—is not under the International Olympic Committee. Or at least not yet.
The IDBF, according to internet reports, still lacked the required 75 member nations or territories to get included in the Olympic movement.
Interestingly, the IOC only recognizes the International Canoe/Kayak Federation which already “gave its blessings” to the IDBF to conduct races on its own, according to internet reports.
However, some national Olympic committees have already accepted dragon boat as an “independent sport discipline” given its stark historical and cultural differences from the sports of canoe and kayaking, one of which is the use of a rig-less boats.
Canoe and kayaking generally use single, carved-out boats and out-riggers and its athletes are called oarsmen instead of paddlers.
There are more than 2,000 paddlers from 17 countries seeing action in the World championship, including the United States, China, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Australia, Singapore and Trinidad and Tobago.
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