DESPITE the presence of a record 10 foreign teams, local clubs held their own and emerge dominant in the 10th Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival held recently.
Five club teams from the island paradise defended their turf, along with three teams from Metro Manila, another from Cebu and Dumaguete fashioned out before thousands of crowd which watched the races from the shoreline and in the water itself.
Of the visiting teams, only Singapore Barbarians Team A, B,and C and BGC Stormy Dragons were able to break the stranglehold of the host country.
Singapore Barbarians Team A paddled away with three top prizes, namely, the championship in the women's 500-meter and 250-meter standard boat races, and the championship in the Mixed International Standard Boat competition.
Meanwhile, BGC Stormy Dragons ran off with the Women's and Masters 250-meter small boat titles.
“Through the years, the Boracay dragon boat races have gained a name for themselves as the event to attend among the dragon boat community worldwide,” explains Gigi Piit of the organizing Boracay Island Paddlers Association (BIPA). Hence, the Boracay races are the most well-attended by foreign teams in the Philippines, making them the biggest annual international sports event in the country.
“Many events in different parts of the Philippines have tried to make their event international, but foreign teams do not participate. It is only in Boracay where they participate with increasing numbers of paddlers each time.”
A total of 21 teams saw action in the meet, including one from China, two from Hong Kong, four from Singapore, two from the US, and one from Dubai.
Traditionally, members of foreign teams form new ones and return the following year.
The thrilling opening ceremonies were hosted by Boyet Sison of ABS-CBN News Channel sports show ‘Hardball’ and featured a fire dance by actress and model Rachel Lobangco.
The 10th Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival was supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Skyjet Airlines, Coca-Cola, Powerade, Jack Daniels, 2GO, and the entire community of Boracay