Cobra PH paddlers in QF, overcome chilly weather
CHANGZHOU, CHINA—Battered by continuous rains and strong winds, the Cobra Energy Drink Philippine dragon boat team managed to keep up with the finest paddlers on the planet in long-distances races where it normally doesn’t figure prominently.
The Filipino paddlers missed the finals of the 1000-meter team pursuit after winding up seventh out of 12 competitors but picked up speed later in the afternoon with a quarterfinal spot in yesterday’s 400m team relay of the International Dragon Boat Federation World Cup.
“The weather has somehow affected our performance, but I’m confident we can handle it,” said team skipper Ambrosio Gontinas after they landed sixth in the men’s and women’s 400m held at Wujin Taihu Bay Resort here.
The Filipinos shivered as they stepped into the boats amid chilly weather conditions that influenced the turnout of their initial race.
They placed third in the first of three heats and improved with a faster combined clocking of 10:04.809 in the quarterfinals.
Yet, the output was slower than the 9:41.134 of Russia, which grabbed the last ticket for today’s 1000m semifinal race. China topped the quarterfinals in 9:22.338 followed by China’s second team (9:24.696).
“Warm-up exercises are crucial. It will prepare you in this kind of weather,” said women’s team captain Ma. Ailene Padrones.
When they got into the groove, the Pinoy paddlers finished the 400m relay in 1:51.844, nosing out Chinese Taipei’s Mr. Canoe (1:52.639) to advance in the repechage.
They edged the Australians (1:52.305) in 1:52.262 during the repechage that allowed the Philippines to clinch the final spot in the six-team quarterfinal race.
“I have to admit that long-distances aren’t our forte. That’s besides the continuous rain and wind that worked against us,” said Philippine Dragon Boat Federation president Marcia Cristobal.
More accustomed to the humid Manila Bay temperature, the Philippine team will defend its standard 100m and 500m titles beginning with the qualifying races today.
Also set is the finals of the standard 200m where the Filipinos placed second two years ago in Fuzhou, China.