Immediately after the PCKDF’s ‘successful campaign’ in the so-called ICF World Championships, their ‘praise releases’ started churning out. They made the rounds on numerous TV and radio programs, and even went as far as to try to charm Malacanang into providing the same incentives as those given to the winners of the Asian Games 2018.
In trying to justify their ploy for incentives for their ‘grand achievements’ in the ICF tournament, they employed a two-pronged campaign:
a. they tried to portray the so-called ICF championship as a colossal event that carried the prestige, and consisted of the best athletes in the planet;
b. they tried to downplay the embarrassing loss in the Asian Games, stating that the games were not done fairly and squarely.
On the ICF’s so-called ‘World Championships’, here are some facts:
a. The event only had 13 participating countries, plus close to 400 paddlers. It did not even reach the ‘top 16 countries’ as their press releases brazenly claimed. This will not qualify for the PSC Incentives Program which calls for a certain minimum number of participant countries. The Asian Games 2018, for instance, had 45 participating countries, and tens of thousands of athletes.
b. The participants were NOT the top dragonboating countries in the world, as their press releases proudly advertised. China was not there, so with the national teams of other heavyweight countries. In fact, only 3 Asian countries joined (Philippines, Japan, Armenia), none of which were medalist countries in the Asian Games Traditional Boat Racing.
c. Finally, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) is not the world governing body for dragonboating. The accepted International Federation for dragonboat is the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF). (Please read: Racing [under Dragon Boat]) This fact is supported by a pronouncement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest sports court in the world, which is recognized by the IOC. This explains why the heavyweight countries were not there to compete. The heavyweight teams – some of which competed in the Asian Games – are with the IDBF.
On PCKDF’s claim that they were cheated in the Asian Games, here are some of the PCKDF statements and the facts:
a. PCKDF President Jonnie Go claims that the boats were not sanctioned by the ICF. Fact: Dr Luk Wai Hung, the Jury Chairman of the competition, tactfully guided us to the competition Technical Handbook. The Handbook clearly states that the ICF and IDBF competition rules and regulations are in force. This was accepted by the teams prior to the competition. The boats were sanctioned by the ICF.
b. A PCKDF paddler made a dangerous insinuation, saying “if the games were organized fair and square, we would win most of the golds.” Fact: Dr Luk stressed that “there was no protest received by the Competition Committee nor the Technical Delegate – TBR during the games.” It appears that it is only the Philippines that feels they were unfairly treated by the Indon hosts. I will say it again. If the PCKDF sincerely believes that they were cheated, they should stop whining and man up. They should have sent a letter complaint to the Indonesian hosts immediately, instead of spreading irresponsible statements behind the Indons backs once they got home. That is a most cowardly thing to do.
c. Another statement: The Indonesians used boats that favored tall players. Fact: the Indonesian average height is just the same as that of the Filipinos. If the Indons were mischievous in regard to the boat design, they would have made a manuever to favor themselves. We too would have benefitted from that, being of the same height and build. Fact is, the Indons did not even win a single gold medal in dragonboating.
d. Another statement in the social media: “The winning teams had 14 weeks to practice with the boats. It didn’t help that the Indonesian hosts wouldn’t confirm if they’re using the standard boat or not.” The writer simply contradicts himself. He talks about how some favored teams practiced with the boats, then retracts and says the Indons would not divulge what type of boats would be used. Which is which? If some teams practiced with those boats, everyone worth their dragonboat salts would have learned and prepared likewise. A failure of intelligence, perhaps?
e. Another excuse: a questionable false start by the Indons made them lose focus. Fact: Every experienced coach and athlete knows that in any race, false starts can happen. One doesn’t allow himself to get rattled by a single false start, much more so make it the reason for losing steam in a contest. These excuses are not just ridiculous, they belie a lack of experience on the part of the leadership. How can one point to a false start as a reason for losing?
You be the judge. Was the PCKDF really cheated in the Asian Games? I’m sorry; but the hard truth speaks out, they lost. No excuses, no finger-pointing. They simply lost, fair and square. And they should learn to lose with dignity, rather than whine, whimper and cast morally-damaging aspersions on their gracious hosts.
I wish to stress that I have no quarrel with the paddlers. For they are just doing what is right for them, which is to compete. I actually feel sorry for them, for they are being used by the PCKDF leadership for their own greed and selfish intentions. Sadly, they are even being taught to bend the truth a bit just so they can get the sports incentive from the PSC. These athletes are being taught early on to prioritize money over honor. These athletes know that they were beaten fair and square in the Asian Games. These athletes know that the competing teams in the ICF games in Gainesville were relatively soft. Ask them.
If these athletes were able to play in real IDBF tournaments, they would see the real competition, and they will get better. Unfortunately, their competitions are being regulated so that the PCKDF leadership doesn’t get embarrassed. For so long as they will compete in ICF ‘pang-barangay’ tourneys only, they will continue to win. But are these wins for real? Look what happened to them in the Asian Games.
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