PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The Philippines grabbed three gold medals at the start of the 2016 Asian Dragon Boat Championships at the Baywalk area here.
Filipino paddlers won the 20-seater men’s 500-meter event, the 10-seater junior mixed 500m, and small boat women’s 200m. They settled for the silver medals in the small boat men and women 500m, respectively.
Egged on by a big crowd, they crossed the finish in one minute and 52.720 seconds, a full boat ahead of Chinese Taipei (1:57.602) in the standard boat.
The Filipinos followed up their conquest of Chinese Taipei in the small boat junior mixed race with a 2:10.387 clocking before the women’s squad, which ruled the 10-seater 200m title for the first time in the continental championships, timed 54.453 seconds also for the win.
“Our paddlers won’t allow a close race like that to slip away,” said coach Diomedes Manalo. “We’ve trained for almost a month on this course.”
While chances for gold medals in the 500m are high, head coach Len Escollante was surprised with the performance of the women’s squad in the 200m.
“It was the first that our women paddlers raced as a team in the 200m,” said Escollante, who led the organizing committee with Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonne Go and Puerto Princesa mayor Lucilo Bayron.