SEA Games: Pinoy dragonboat squad falls short in long distance racing

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2019 12:40 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2019 01:43 PM

SUBIC BAY -- (UPDATE) The Philippine Dragonboat team fell short of its medal aspirations on Sunday after settling for another bronze medal in the traditional boat races here in Malawaan Park.

A day after netting a podium finish in the mixed 22-seater 200-meter race, the Philippine squad made up of young paddlers placed third in the mixed 22-seater 500-meter event. 

They came in at 1:58:153 behind second placer Thailand (1:55:153).

Indonesia topped the race with a time of 1:53:753, while Malaysia (1:59:202) and Myanmar (2:00:060) settled for fourth and fifth respectively.

The Philippine team also failed to make the cut in the men’s 4-seater 500-meter and mixed 22-seater 1000-meter races. It settled for fourth place in both races.

Dragon boat coach Len Escollante remained proud of the team as they were still able to win medals despite being the youngest group in the competition.

“Sa akin as long as nag-perform ang mga players natin, a medal is still a medal,” she said.

“Of course, everybody wants a gold, pero maganda na rin ang ginawa ng mga players natin.”

Collantes said the team is now composed of younger paddlers as bulk of their crew were already deemed “retired.”

“We started very young, umuusbong na sila. Sila ang pinakabata sa lahat ng mga naglalabanan. Sabi ko darating ang time kayo naman ang mga veteran,” she said.

“‘Yung iba mga nagtrabaho na sa Dubai, siyempre may mga asawa na rin. Hindi enough for the family 'yung allowance ng national athletes, so naiintindihan naman natin. Ganoon talaga ng mga team nag-iiba ang komposisyon. At least nagi-improve ang mga atleta natin.”

Collantes added that she sees a sunny future for the young dragonboat team.

“Masasabi ko talaga the future is bright. Alagaan lang sila, makikita nyo ang difference ng ibang team at team natin.”

All in all, the Philippine team netted 2 bronze medals in dragonboat and a gold and 2 silver medals in canoe-kayak.

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