Filipino paddlers rule ICF world championships | Inquirer Sports

Filipino paddlers rule ICF world championships

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 11:21 AM September 17, 2018

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GAINESVILLE, Georgia, United States—As the Philippine flag courageously fluttered in the breeze, Ojay Fuentes and Hermie Macaranas proudly sang the country’s national anthem with the team one last time.

It was the culmination of a dazzling show that saw Filipino paddlers emerge as overall champions in the senior division of the 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships.

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Fuentes and Macaranas paddled in all five races that the Philippines won, punctuated by a gold-medal effort in the 10-seater senior men’s 200m event on Sunday (Monday in Manila) at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park here.

“This is a special moment for us, this is for the country,” said Fuentes.

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“Even our rivals are proud of our accomplishment,” added Macaranas as the Hungarians and Italians exchanged high fives with the members of the team during the awarding ceremony.

Quickly gliding on water using short but powerful strokes, the Philippines crossed the line in 47.39 seconds to defeat silver medalist Italy, which clocked 49.58 seconds. Hungary, a consistent title contender, checked in third, almost three seconds behind the Filipinos.

With five gold and two silver medals, the national paddlers erased the previous record of five golds and one silver that the country accomplished in 2012 Milan, Italy.

The golden output also allowed the Philippines to recover its bearings from an Asian Games defeat that left the team visibly and emotionally frustrated.

“I felt vindicated. Here, we were able to show what the team is really capable of achieving,” said Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragon Boat Federation president Jonne Go.

Indonesian organizers in the Asian Games last month used heavier boats with a deeper hull, which was far different from the regular boats during the races sanctioned by the International Canoe Federation.

Headcoach Len Escollante expressed her gratitude to the Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., the Philippine Sports Commission and Go For Gold, the private benefactor that financed the participation of the women’s team.

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With Go For Gold’s support, the Pinoy paddlers were able to win four senior mixed events in the small and big boats for both the 200m and 500m distances.

Joining Macaranas and Fuentes on the podium in the men’s 200m were Mark Jhon Frias John Lester Delos Santos, Oliver Manaig, Reymart Nevado, Lee Robin Santos, Jordan De Guia, Roger Masbate, John Paul Selencio, drummer Patricia Bustamante and steersman Maribeth Caranto.

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TAGS: 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships, Dragon Boat, Hermie Macaranas, Ojay Fuentes
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