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Pinoy paddlers capture 3 golds in Asian Dragon Boat

  • Written by Robert Andaya
  • Published in Other Sports
  • Read: 280

PUERTO Princesa City  --The Philippines turned the pristine waters of Palawan into a veritable gold mine, winning three of 10 gold medals in the  Asian Dragon Boat Championships here Saturday.

Buoyed by their recent success in the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championships in Russia where they won three golds, the Filipinos  used  their familiarity  of their home turf  to capture  three golds and two silvers in the two-day competition  organized by the Philippine Canoe  Kayak Dragonboat Federation (PCKDF) and hosted by the Puerto Princesa government.

Leading the gold medal hunt  for the   host country is the national team in  the women’s  10-seater, which captured top honors following a heated battle against Southeast Asian  rivals Thailand and Indonesia.

e Filipinas, who are playing as a team for the first time,  submitted a time of 54.453 against   Thailand (54.753 seconds) and Indonesia (55.351) .
The gold-medal winning women’s team is composed of Glaiza Liwag, Sherryl Caang, Apple Agitona, Rea Glore, Rhea Roa, Rosalyn Esguerra, Ella Fe Niuda, Chiva Angela Abanilla, Rossel Burgos, Raquel Amersion, drummer Patricia Bustamante and  steerwoman Maribeth Coranto.
The Filipinos, whose campaign  is also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), also paddled their way to gold medals in the 20-seater men’s 500-meter event and 10-seater junior mixed 500m.
In the 20-seater men’s 500-meter, the Filipinos clocked 1:52.720 against Chinese Taipei’s 1:57.602.
The battle was a lot closer in the 10-seater junior mixed 500m.
Led by Ojay Fuentes and Hermie Macaranas, the junuor team edged Chinese Taipei by a split second at the line, 2:10.387  to  2:11.197.
The  silver medals  came in the small  boat men and women 500m.    
The  three-gold  medal achievement by the Filipinos exceeded expectations by the PCKDF, headed by president Jonne Go.
“We are proud of our  paddlers, especially the women’s team. They did  their  best to make our country proud and  even  exceeded our expectations,” said Go, also  one of the  top officials in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).         
Go also lauded  the PSC, headed  by chairman William “Butch”  Ramirez, the POC under president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco and  the Puerto Princesa City government underr Mayor Lucilo Bayron, for their support.
National team coach Len Escollante said she never doubted the Filipinas’ capability to win the gold medal.
“We really didn’t expect to wina gold in the women’s event. Thailand and Indonesia are the contenders here. We also had not fielded our women paddlers as a  team before,” said Escollante.’        
“But tiwala ako na makahahabol  ang  mga paddlers natin lalo na  Makita  ko ang kanilang hataw sa last 20 meters. Sabi ko nga,  gold na ito,”added Escollante, who  also  personally spearheaded the organizing committee.
The Filipinos also figured prominently in two events where they settled for silver medals.
In the  small boat men’s 500,  Japan (2:03.764) won by a hairline over the Philippines (2:03.847) and Indonesia (2:03.890).
The Filipinas crossed the line in 2:22.128  for the silver medal in the  small boat women’s 200m behind Thailand, which finished with 2:19.145.Indonesia  came in third with 2:22.795.
Among those present during the  opening ceremony were  PSC commissioners  Ramon Fernandez and Charles Maxey.