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PH rowers bag fourth gold medal in ICF world championships

WALK OF FAME. Members of the country’s mixed team claim their fourth gold medal in the ICF World Dragon Boat Championships. INQUIRER

GAINESVILLE, Georgia, United States—Another pair of gold medals went straight to the Philippine coffers in the ongoing 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships.

Big thanks to a sports philanthropist back home that funded the participation of the women’s squad, allowing the national paddlers to race in the mixed category of the world-class tourney at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park here.

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The Filipinos collected a third gold in the 10-seater senior mixed 200-meter event early Saturday (Sunday in Manila) and claimed another victory in the 20-seater senior mixed 200m on the same day.

Overall, the members of the Philippine Canoe Kayak and Dragonboat Federation team netted four gold medals in the mixed category after the combined efforts of both men and women paddlers made the fantastic performance possible.

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“Go For Gold helped us bring the women’s team here. Their assistance was crucial for us to succeed,’’ said headcoach Len Escollante.

Starring Mark Jhon Frias, Ojay Fuentes and Hermie Macaranas along with drummer Patricia Ann Bustamante and steersman Maribeth Caranto, the Philippines topped the 10-seater senior mixed 200m race in 50.469 seconds, almost three seconds before second-placer France (53.056) ferociously chased them to the line.

Hungary got the bronze in 53.158 seconds followed by host United States (53.463), Italy (53.9) and Germany (54.437).

“We’re very happy to support the team. We are firm believers in equality in sports and we hope that we can encourage more women to join not just dragon boat, but all sports,’’ said Go For Gold top executive Jeremy Go.

They grabbed the limelight in the big boat senior mixed 200m finals after defeating the Czech Republic by a full boat in 43.481 seconds.

Czech Republic arrived three seconds after the Philippine crossed the line for the silver medal and United States placed third, almost four seconds back.

The Filipino rowers, whose participation was also bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission, successfully defended the 20-seater senior mixed 500m title and ruled the 10-seater senior mixed 500m on the first day of competition last Friday.

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Apart from the four golds, they also seized two silver medals after narrowly losing the 10-seater senior men’s 500m and 20-seater senior mixed 2000m events titles on Saturday.

According to coach Diomedes Manalo, they have already surpassed their medal output of three golds, one silver and two bronzes in the previous edition of the world championships in 2016 Moscow.

Oliver Manaig, Reymart Nevado, Daniel Ortega, Jonathan Ruz and John Paul Selencio contributed to the country’s success in the small boat mixed 200m race together with Raquel Almencion, Rosalyn Esguerra, Glaiza Liwag, Cristine Mae Talledo, Sharmane Mangilit and Rhea Roa.

One more gold medal is up for grabs in the small boat senior men 200m on Sunday (Monday in Manila). Filipino paddlers also added a pair of bronze medals in the master category small boat men’s and mixed 200m for good measure.

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TAGS: 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships, Dragon Boat, Philippines
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