Filipino paddlers seek to extend Moscow success to Asian tilt
After netting three golds, one silver, and two bronze medals in the 2016 ICF World Dragonboat Championship in Moscow, the Philippine national dragon boat federation is now preparing for another pair of competitions to be staged in our shores.
The Philippines is hosting the 2016 Asian Dragon Boat Championship on November 11 to 12 and the Puerto Princesa International Club Crew Championship in Palawan on November 12 to 13.
“This will be the first time the Philippines is hosting events like this,” Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonnee Go said during the weekly PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate on Tuesday.
“Malaking bagay ito for our tourism, and also a chance for us to showcase how great the Filipinos are in paddle sports,” Go said.
Go said that a perfect example is how the team fared in Moscow, where the Philippines only had 10 paddlers in the juniors and 19 in the seniors division under coach Len Escollante.
Escollante, though, defrayed the credit and gave all the praise to the paddlers.
“Ang nagpanalo sa amin is yung teamwork,” she said. “Sabi nga nila, nandoon na tayo so patay kung patay. Maganda yung teamwork ng team at nandoon na rin yung tieala sa bawat isa sa tagal na nilang magkakasama.”
Though undersized, Escollante said that the team never lost courage in the competition, defying the cold climate and even wore sandos as they raced to the gold in the 20-seater 200-meter and
500-meter races, much to the surprise of their favored opponents.
“Gulat na gulat yung mga taga-ibang bansa, pati na rin kami kasi ang lamig pero nag-sando lang sila. Kita mo talaga yung kagustuhan nilang manalo,” she said.
Picking up from that triumphant medal haul, the national dragon boat team is hoping to sustain that run in the twin competitions in November, where they are also expecting a strong home support for their 45-man delegation.
“Malakas ang mga kalaban sa women’s. Fifty-percent din ng sumali sa Moscow came from the juniors kaya I hope na kakayanin nila ang mga kalaban. Sa men’s naman, sigurado tayong lalaban tayo,” said Escollante. “Hindi naman tayo nagpapabaya.”
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