Dragon boat team newest Philippine delight | Inquirer Sports
In Huddle

Dragon boat team newest Philippine delight

/ 11:52 PM August 13, 2011

All told, the trip from Tampa, Florida to Manila should have taken one whole day, but there wasn’t the slightest trace of fatigue when the Dragon Boat paddlers stepped out from their PAL flight from Los Angeles last Friday morning.

Indeed, victory gives an athlete an adrenalin rush and a burst of extra energy that lasts as long as the feeling of elation.
From the airport, the 26-man dragon boat delegation proceeded to the Century Park Sheraton Hotel where sponsors PAL and Asia Brewery Inc. had prepared a small press conference to welcome the victorious athletes.
The media were eager to see and welcome the newest heroes of Philippine sports, thus the small party anticipated by the hosts swelled to a size way beyond what was expected.
Perhaps, some like me also wanted to take a close look at the gold medalists to find out if they had wrinkles on their faces and jowls under the chin, as bluntly declared by POC director and soft tennis head Jeff Tamayo.
Tamayo, a military man like most of the paddlers, had asked the group to retire, because they were “too old”. This after they won five golds and two silvers in the 10th International Dragon Boat Racing World Championship in Florida.
To add insult to injury, Tamayo said the paddlers may look strong and muscle-bound, but in reality they are as hollow as the ampao, a Chinese delicacy made of crunchy rice crispies with shell casings on the outside but nothing on the inside.
* * *
What prompted Tamayo to make a dumb statement like that, coming on the heels of a glorious achievement, and on national television, I do not have the faintest idea
He also insinuated that the team may be on steroids by way of explaining the paddlers’ extraordinary speed and strength.

While Floyd Mayweather Jr. has also indirectly accused Manny Pacquiao of using steroids, coming from an American, that’s not as objectionable as your own kababayan making the same accusation.

* * *
According to a PDBF spokesperson, the paddlers are 25 to 35 years old.

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“Anyone from 18 to 60 can participate, as long as they are physically fit. There are several categories in the race and these include a Senior A for paddlers 40 years and above and a Senior B for those above 50.”

The Cobra Dragon Boat team was magnanimous in victory. For all the bad things Tamayo has said, he has been forgiven, they chorused.
One interesting question asked during the presscon was, will they inform President Aquino—if he still didn’t know—of the shabby treatment they got from the POC, whose head Peping Cojuangco, is the President’s uncle.
PDBF president Marcia Cristobal said they will air their sentiments to P-Noy when they pay a courtesy call on him in Malacanang later that Friday afternoon.
Marcia said she will also appeal to the President to reinstate the paddlers to their original status as national athletes.
Marcia did exactly that when she came face to face with the President later.
* * *
It wasn’t meant to be for public consumption but some friends from media said they heard the President comment that he will ask his people to look into the root of the appeal.
The President said he wants to take politics out of sports and I really wish he could but being an oldtimer, I know too well that this is easier said than done. If the team gets back its national status, does this mean that the PDBA will also be reinstated as NSA?
My colleague, the Inquisitor, said this cannot happen because the merging of the Dragon Boat and Kayak associations all over the world is a mandate coming from the International Olympic Committee. I still would have to verify if this info from The Inquisitor is accurate.

Frayna rebounds, Turqueza tumbles
Janelle Mae Frayna bested Carole Forestier of France while Mari Joseph Turqueza bowed to International Master Suri Vaibhav of India in the 10th round of the 50th World Junior and 29th Junior Girls Chess Championships in Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India, on Friday. Frayna improved to 5.5 points while Turqueza was stuck at 5.0 points.

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TAGS: Dragon Boat, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jeff Tamayo, PAL, PDBF, POC, Sports

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