PH paddlers reset world mark
CHANGHUA, Taiwan—Coach Len Escollante had been longing to break their own world record and the Philippine dragon boat team didn’t disappoint her.
The Filipino paddlers seized three gold medals in the 2017 Taiwan International Dragon Boat Championships on Sunday with their victory in the semifinals of the 20-seater men’s 200 meters erasing the world’s fastest time in the event.
With Daniel Ortega and Roger Masbate at the helm, the world champions glided smoothly at the finish on the murky Fulu river and clocked 40.16 seconds that shadowed the team’s previous standard of 41 seconds during the 2014 ICF Dragon Boat World Championships in Poznan, Poland.
“I had been challenging them to break their world record in every race. All the hard work of training twice a day finally paid off,” said Escollante, who gave Ortega US$200 after losing her wager.
The squad, which has drummer Patricia Ann Bustamante and steersman Christian Burgos, eventually pocketed the gold medal in the 200m 10 and 20 seaters prior to their victory in the men’s 500m 10-seater.
“This is essentially the start of our preparations for the world championships and the Asian Games next year,” said Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonne Go.
The Filipinos, who got a standing ovation from the huge crowd after the record feat, timed 40.48 seconds in the 200m big boat finale, beating Chinese Taipei’s Fitness Factory (43.57s) and Taiwan’s Ludong Township (47.01s).
“We’re really after the clockings. Our next goal is to break the 39-second barrier this year and hopefully aim for 38 seconds prior to the Asian Games,” said Escollante of her paddlers who pocketed three gold medals in the ICF world championships last year in Moscow.
The Philippines clocked 53.84s to defeat host Taiwan (54.30) and Hong Kong (54.80) in the 200m small boat before collecting their third gold in the 500m small boat in two minutes and 22 seconds.
Assistant coaches Mark Jhon Frias and Ricky Sardena shared the coaching duties with Escollante in the team featuring team skipper Fernan Dungan, Hermie Macaranas, Alex Generalo, Ojay Fuentes, John Paul Selencio, Jordan De Guia, Raymart Nevado, Lee Robin Santos, Jonathan Ruz and Franc Feliciano.
Also included in the squad supported by the Philippine Sports Commission were Fernan Dungan, Oliver Manaig, Christian Urso, Lester Delos Santos, Jerome Solis, Kim Gabriel Borromeo, Robert Pantaleon, Jericho Noay, John James Pelagio, Christian Macayan, Arche Baylosis, Ryan Vidal and Roger Manlangit.
The current Asian champions are also considered the top contenders in the 20-seater men’s 500m that could complete a sweep of all four races where they participated in.
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