They missed 2 podium finishes by a proverbial whisker in the 1000-meter events last July 25! By .1 of a second in the premiere open, and .12 of a second in the premiere mixed categories! I mean, it was that close to seeing the Philippines in the medal tally board! In both events, the Philippines was in the lead, or was right there on top with the leaders, from the start to the last 100 to 50 meters. Only to wilt to the bigger, longer-limbed Europeans at the finish line.
Undeterred, the smaller but quicker Philippine Dragon Boat Team finally showcased their talents by taking the silver medal in the 500-meter standard premiere mixed event yesterday in Szeged, Hungary. It was a grueling paddle war, with the Philippines and China once again taking the lead at the start. This time though, the Cobra-powered Philippine squad was able to stave off the expected rallies from Canada, USA, Australia and the Czech Republic, only to lose to the Chinese paddlers by a nose. With this medal finish, the Philippines serves notice of their intentions as the Games move on to the middle and the short distance events.
Marcia Cristobal, PDBF President, said: “After two days of adjusting with the time difference, we have our composure back.” Team Philippines had arrived on the very day of the opening ceremony.
The Philippine team has always been a strong contender in the sprints, the showcase events of the Games. Everyone is looking forward to the 200-meters premiere open event, where a looming battle between China and the Philippines is expected.
Philippine Team souvenirs, particularly the singlets with the PDBF logo, have been so in demand at the Games. Athletes and officials from different countries have been frequenting the Philippines’ tent to renew acquaintances and ask for souvenirs. Pinky Castillo, PDBF SecGen, noted: “What’s really good about this championship is the friendship among nations. It’s one big family in the IDBF. It’s a happy gathering where friendships are developed and brought to the next Championship.”
Today, the team competes in the three much-awaited sprint events: the standard premiere mixed, premiere women’s (small boat) and the standard premiere open. Let’s wish them well.
Here’s how they placed in the 500-meters standard mixed event yesterday:
1:56.73 1. China
1:57.37 2. Philippines
1:57.55 3. Canada
1:58.77 4. USA
1:59.42 5. Australia
1:59.93 6. Czech Republic