After bringing two silvers and two bronzes from Hungary, the members of the PDBF Team that competed in the Dragon Boat World Championships in Hungary are finally back home. They were feted to a Thanksgiving Cocktails and Presscon at the Milky Way Restaurant in Makati today, August 6, by their chief supporter, Cobra Energy Drink.
Team captain Usman Anterola talked about some highlights of the trip, and emphasized the importance of teamwork and working in unison as they endeavored to get a gold result.
President Marcia Cristobal was at first apologetic, especially with the high expectations as a result of their victorious foray in Tampa last 2011. Be that as it may, she was still very proud of the contingent considering that they were consistently in the finals in all the events they had competed in. She expressed her gratitude to Cobra, as well as the other companies and individuals who helped the team in the Hungary crusade.
During the question & answer portion, three significant points were brought out:
1) Specialization. Our team competed in the 2000-meters to the 1000-meters, to the 500-meters and the 200 -meters distance events. Practically the same team was utilized for the different distances. It will be noted however that the powerhouse teams had dedicated teams for the long distance (2000 and 1000 meters), the middle distance (500 meters), and the sprints (200 meters). Clearly, a specially dedicated team will have an advantage over a team that attempts to compete in all events.
2) Acclimatization. The team arrived in Hungary a day prior to the competition. There was very little time to acclimatize or to adjust to the time difference. This clearly showed in the first day when our team could only manage to place 7th and 8th in the two 2000 meter races we joined in. Eventual overall winner, Canada, arrived in Hungary months before the competition. Not only were they acclimatized and time-adjusted, they had by that time adjusted to the Hungarian diet as well.
3) Practice. The team line-up was completed only three weeks before the competition. Three weeks paddling together – even if they may have come out the best in the try-outs – is not enough for a top caliber competition like this. The team needs to jell, and this can only be achieved thru months, or even years of practice together.
That said, the Cobra management promised to continue supporting the Dragon Boat Community by working with them on the items discussed. Mr Abe Cipriano of the LT Group of Companies also expressed hope for more partnerships in order to pool in more resources – from the government or the private sector – to ensure that the vision of propagating Dragon Boating and winning honors in international competition is achieved.
By and large, the team came up with a creditable performance, despite the obstacles they have had to hurdle. It is with this in mind that the PDBF leadership today has vowed to work even harder to ensure that the team that goes to Canada in 2015 will reap even more successes.
For his part, Jeff Mendoza of Cobra lauded the team: “The determination and the resilience of the Cobra-PDBF Team is what brought them to place in the World Championship, bagging 4 medals over a highly competitive field. We are proud of their success. The team has proven that perseverance truly does pay off.”