THE Philippine Dragon Boat team hopes to replicate its recent success
come next year’s Asian Games in Indonesia.
After winning four gold medals in the Taiwan International Dragon Boat Championships over the weekend, including a record-breaking win in the 20-seater men’s 200 meter event, the Filipino paddlers are now setting their sights of giving the country its first ever gold in the sport during the 2018 edition of the Asiad.
Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation (PCKDF) president Jonne Go said winning an Asiad gold has been the ultimate objective of the association, especially with dragon boat rarely being included in the calendar of sports of the quadrennial meet.
“Ito yung aim talaga ng PCKF to win a gold in the Asiad. We haven’t won a gold in (dragon boat) in the Asiad,” said the adorable sports official who also sits as auditor of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“Indonesia included it (dragon boat) in the Asiad calendar since malakas din sila sa event. So might as well take advantage of this rare opportunity to aim for the gold.”
Only the men’s and women’s (200 meter 10 and 20 seaters and 500 10 and 20 seaters) will be disputed in the August 18 to Sept. 2 Asiad to be held in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang.
With headcoach Len Escollante calling the shots, the national team completed a sweep of all the events it competed during the Taiwan meet, where it bested entries from countries like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, and Taipei.
The men’s 20-seater team (200 meters) highlighted the campaign by registering a new record time of 40.16 seconds that eclipsed its previous mark of 41 seconds set in the 2014 ICF Dragon Boat World Championships in Poznan, Poland.
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 PCKDF president is positive the team is yet to reach its full potential.
“Meron pa tayong ilalabas,” said Go. “Naniniwala kami na pag nagsama-sama pa at ensayado ka, hindi mahirap na manalo.”
Unfortunately, dragon boat is not part of the calendar of sports in next months’ Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
But SEA countries are planning to have their own dragon boat competitions hopefully, at the end of the biennial meet set August 19-31.
“They want to have a SEA championship and a lot are proposing for Thailand to host it,” said Go. “But definitely, after na ito ng SEA Games.”