THE Philippines claimed three more gold medals and reinforced its status as newest power in the dragon boat racing after emerging as the most successful team at the close of the World Dragon Boat Championships on Sunday in Milan, Italy.
Filipino paddlers cornered all the gold medals staked in the Open category of the 200-meter events during the final day of the event organized by the International Canoe Federation.
The blazing finish placed the Filipinos on top of the field of 14 countries that saw action in the week-long meet. In all, they won a total of six gold medals and one silver in the seven events where they saw action.
Only a runner-up finish in the 500-meter mixed 20 event denied the PH paddlers a sweep of the meet.
In all three first-place performances of the Filipinos on the final day (midnight in Manila) the Russians ended up as the frustrated runner up, while the United States, Germany, and Poland were bronze medalists.
Kicking off the Philippines' big windup was the victory in the 10 paddlers all men with a time of 50.07, against Russia’s 51.120 and Poland’s 52.757.
The feat was followed by the mixed 20 (12 men eight women) victory where the Filipinos’ clocked 44.486, followed by Russia in 45.329, and Germany in 46.133.
Still not done, PH also ruled the mixed 10 race (six men four women) with a time of 52.419, with Russia again second in 53.739 and the United States third, 54.569.
In the past two days, the Filipinos collected gold medals in the 10 mixed 500 meter, the 10-men 2,000-m, and the 10-men 500 meter race. Their only silver came from the 20 mixed 500-meter race won by Russia.
For the day, the Filipinos raced seven times in all including the qualifying and semi-final round which were needed because there were more than ten entries in two events.
“You are simply awesome. Russia did not see you coming and also you have reminded all of us that there is such a country as Philippines in the map,” the Canadian head of delegation told Philippine Canoe/Kayak Federation Secretary-General Jonne Go.
This is the first time the Philippines defeated Russia in a world championships.
The 25-member team returns to Manila on Tuesday.