Butuan’s FSUU Dragon Boat Team Gains Respect From World Class Paddlers

by: Erwin Mascarinas

From Mindanao News (May 1, 2013)

(Erwin Mascarinas is a writer/photographer based in Butuan City. He is a jolly, outspoken individual who loves his food, loves his photography, and loves to have fun. Erwin is a hopeless romantic who is always rooting for the underdog. Erwin sees a bright future for FSUU as a dragon boat catalyst, and is excited at the prospects of developing the sport in Mindanao. This is his report.)

The Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) dragon boat team gained admiration and respect from the organizers and participants of the 2nd Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) International Club Crew Challenge here that ended Tuesday.

The early birds get to practice first

PDBF president Marcia Cristobal pointed out that the FSUU team showed a promising start for a novice team composed of college students.

“The FSUU dragon boat team gained good feedback from the race organizers and seasoned paddlers. For a team composed of college students, they went head to head with seasoned world and national champion teams and showed that they have what it takes to row beside such teams,” she said.

Practice makes perfectFresh new faces in the Dragon Boat Circuit

Cristobal is optimistic that the team is ready to face bigger challenges in the international scene.

“As the first all Mindanao team to join such race, FSUU has a big potential to shine for the below 23 category in the international dragon boat competitions. I’m sure with more practice and discipline they will be able to earn a mark in the international scene,” she said.
New Kids on the (Sun)BlockNice paddles too!

Retired Maj. Gen. Charly Holganza, over-all chairperson of the race executive committee, stated that he was surprised to see new teams hold their ground and fought head on against champion teams.

“Both the Bohol teams and Butuan’s FSUU showed us that even novice teams can stand their ground in the sport. The teams from Bohol as well as from Butuan are just few months old. I’m sure with more practice they will prove a lot in this sport,” he said.

Jackie-Jean Aspiras, television sports writer, also expressed her optimism for Butuan’s FSUU team.

“Considering that the FSUU team is just a few months old, they have so much potential. You can see that the way they handle their paddling, they have the right form and discipline,” she said. Aspiras added that considering that the FSUU squad is a first-timer and yet reached the semifinal rounds already speaks so much of the team’s character and ability.

Practice, practice, practice!!!And some time to relax too

Team Lake Buhi, who won the 2000 meters in both open and mixed and 500 meters open standard categories, was amazed with the new teams that competed in the race.

“The FSUU team have potential in this sport, they just need more practice as a team and they need to further push themselves to be able to win in future races,” said Abion Roderick, Lake Buhi’s team captain.

Fr Kits brought along the Mindanao pride, FSUU

The FSUU dragon boat team reached the semifinal rounds in the 500 meters open standard, 200 meters open standard and 200 meters women small boat categories against 13 teams, of which 9 are seasoned teams with national and international competition experience.

The race featured national and international championship teams such as the Army Dragon Boat Team, Philippine Navy Standard, Philippine Coast Guard Dragon Boat Team and Team Lake Buhi.

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My personal congratulations goes to Fr Kits Butardo, whose vision and passion for the sport has nurtured the team, developed the team physically and spiritually, and has personally provided the ‘wind beneath their wings’.

The 2nd Cobra – PDBF International Club Crew Challenge was produced by the Provincial Government of Bohol, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, and Tapok Tapok Bol-anon; with Cobra, Philex, Smart Communications and Cetaphil. Co-producing the event were Lj Lumayag of K & N Productions, Bohol Paddlers Association, and the municipalities of Dauis and Maribojoc, Rotary Tagbilaran, JCI Bohol Kisses and JCI Chocolate Hills.

The major sponsors were: Bluewater Panglao, Bellevue Hotel, First Consolidated Bank, TIEZA, Zoocolate Thrills, and the Department of Tourism (DOT). Other sponsors include: Dep Comm Danny Lim, Oishi, 2Go, Adnama Mining, Hyundai, Danao Adventure Park, Starlite, Eskaya, Ramasola Studios, Truckworld, Lite Shipping, Island Prints and Cong Rene Relampagos.

The media partners include: the Manila Bulletin, Sports Digest, Philippine Star, Business Mirror, TV5, Solar Sports, Sports Unlimited, BCCTV, Bohol Chronicle, DYRD, Xync Magazine and Istorya.net.

The ‘Battle of Champions’ at the 2nd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge was held in Dauis, Bohol last April 26-30. We hope to have learned the values of dragon boating from this once-in-a-lifetime treat!

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