The Philippines continued to shine on the world stage after grabbing two silver medals in the 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park in Gainesville, Georgia.
Always a strong contender in the small boat, the paddlers from the Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation came close to bagging another gold in the 10-seater senior men’s 500 meters before Hungary wrestled the title away near the finish.
The Hungarians clocked 2:05.021 to nip the Filipinos (2:06.18) in the last few meters before the Czech Republic checked in third, more than three seconds after the winner, followed by Italy, Germany and Ukraine.
In the 20-seater senior mixed 2000m, the PH paddlers were also in contention for the gold but blew the chance after the United States cut them on the final turn, allowing the Czech Republic to secure a trouble-free finish.
“We were forced to take a longer route because we might bump the boat of the United States on the last turn,’’ said head coach Len Escollante.
They were released third out of seven teams from the starting line and chased down the Americans midway into the race.
When the Filipinos were ready to overtake, the Americans took the inner lane on the final bend that wasted several precious seconds off the Philippines.
“That cost us approximately 4-5 seconds. Still, we were able to earn a medal and I’m proud of what this team has accomplished,’’ said Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation president Jonne Go.
Backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and Go For Gold, the team earlier bagged a pair of golds in the 20-seater senior mixed 500m and the 10-seater senior mixed 500m.
The Czech Republic ruled the 2000m in eight minutes and 42.47 seconds while the Philippines clocked 8:43.98. Hungary, which overtook Germany in the last 500m, crossed the line in 8:46.22 for the bronze.
Paddlers Mark Jhon Frias, Jordan De Guia, Arche Baylosis, Loberstan Duayao, John Lester Delos Santos, Jerome Solis, John James Pelagio, Miflone Puzon and Franc Feliciano form the core of 20-seater 200m senior mixed category.
Joining them are lady paddlers Apple Jane Abitona, Raquel Almencion, Lealyn Baligasa, drummer Patricia Ann Bustamante and steerer Maribeth Caranto as the Filipinos aim for three more golds on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Apart from the big boat 200m senior mixed, they are bound to race in the finals of the small boat 200m senior men and senior mixed.