Filipino paddlers seize 3 golds in Asian Dragon Boat tilt
PUERTO PRINCESA—The Philippines cashed in on its familiarity of the race course to claim three gold medals in the 2016 Asian Dragon Boat Championships.
Filipino paddlers ruled the 20-seater men’s 500-meter event as well as the 10-seater junior mixed 500m and small boat women’s 200m while winding up with silver medals in the small boat men and women 500m before a huge crowd at the Baywalk area here.
They clocked 1:52.720 in the standard boat men’s 500m after leaving Chinese Taipei (1:57.602) a full boat behind at the finish during the opening of the two-day race organized by the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation and top Puerto Princesa City officials led by Mayor Lucilo Bayron.
But while the men’s squad won with plenty to spare, the junior team led by Ojay Fuentes and Hermie Macaranas had to push harder for the Pinoys to nip Chinese Taipei by a split second at the line. They timed
2:10.387 before Taipei’s Mr. Canoe checked in at 2:11.197.
“The race was too close but our paddlers didn’t give up,’’ said coach Diomedes Manalo. “I guess our familiarity of the course helped us a lot.’’
The women’s team captured the small boat 200m title for the first time after edging Thailand (54.753 seconds) and Indonesia (55.351) with a 54.453 clocking.
“Thailand and Indonesia are the contenders here, so we really didn’t expect to win this event,’’ said headcoach Len Escollante. “We had not fielded our women paddlers as a team before.’’
Escollante spearheaded the organizing committee along with PCKF president Jonne Go as the Philippines hosted the continental meet for the first time.
Right after today’s Asian championship races, the 2016 Puerto Princesa International Club Crew Championships will kick off with 30 foreign and local clubs competing.
It was a tight race in the small boat men’s 500 where Japan (2:03.764) won by a hairline over the Philippines (2:03.847) and Indonesia (2:03.890).
The Philippine got another silver in the small boat women’s 200m after Thailand zoomed past near the finish in 2:19.145. The Filipinos crossed the line in 2:22.128 followed by Indonesia (2:22.795).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.