Cobra-Dragon Boat eyes third world title
MANILA—The Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Federation team flew to the United States Monday night to defend its title in the 10th International Dragon Boat World Championship starting Wednesday in Tampa, Florida.
Training in long distances, the Cobra-PDBF paddlers, who won the men’s 200-meter race in record-breaking fashion the past two editions of the event, are looking to add the men’s 500m, 1000m and mixed 500m to their medal collection.
Cobra-PDBF coach Nestor Ilagan said the team is prepared for the challenge, having trained on extended distances and rowing thrice a day from Manila Yacht Club to Manila Ocean Park with premium on speed.
“We’ve trained hard for this and anticipated all possible conditions at sea,” said Ilagan.
In the 2007 world championships, the PDBF won the gold in the men’s 200m in Sydney, Australia, and set a world record of 42.16 seconds.
The team retained its world title two years later in Prague, Czech Republic, erasing its old record and setting a new mark of 40.02 seconds. The Philippines also won the mixed division 200m in the 2009 world championships.
Standing in the PDBF’s way for another shot at glory are teams from Canada, US, Germany, China, Australia and Czech Republic.
“These countries are the strong contenders for the title in both short and long distances,” said Ilagan, who is confident that the 25 champion paddlers have the edge in their discipline and determination to win.
With these values, the paddlers have gained the respect of supporters Cobra Energy Drink and Philippine Airlines.
“We are pleased that Cobra-PDBF now has the opportunity to win more titles, set more world records and bring more glory and honor for our country,” said Mike Ngo, Asia Brewery’s AVP for Marketing, Media and Budget.
Catch the Cobra-PDBF race updates in Florida daily at Studio 23 during weekdays (2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m.) and weekends (1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.) starting today until Aug. 8.
“We’re hoping to be reaffirmed as the world’s best,” said Ilagan. “The prayers and support from all Filipinos will inspire us to work harder and win more medals for our country.”