ASIAN GAMES: PHI dragon boat team plunges into action Saturday

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 24, 2018 04:17 PM
PHI dragon boat team plunges into action Saturday
The Philippine dragon boat team will open its campaign on Saturday.

PALEMBANG --- Hoping to live up to high expectations back home, the Philippine dragon boat squad plunges into 18th Asian Games action on Saturday in the men’s and women’s 200-meter events  at the picturesque Jakabaring Sports City Regatta course here.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas has tipped dragon boat, also known as traditional boat racing, as one of the country’s potential source of golds in this quadrennial sportsfest.

But Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragon Boat Federation president Jonne Go downplayed the chances of the Filipino paddlers, noting that “all of the other teams have prepared hard.”

Go stressed that host Indonesia, already a powerhouse in the sport, has been using foreign coaches for the past two years.

“It is going to be a tough fight for all of the countries that are competing in the Asian Games. They are all prepared,” Go said. “Depende na lang on how conditioned the mind of the athletes are.”

What she left unsaid, however, was that the Philippines is coming off a highly-successful stint in the last Asian Canoe Federation Asian Dragon Boat Federation Dragon Boat Championships held in Dali, China in July where the Pinoy paddlers bagged two golds.

The men’s squad swept the 200-meter and 500-meter standard races, besting Asian powers such as Thailand and Myanmar in the process.

“But the times in these events were so close, just milliseconds, so it could still be anybody’s race,” Go said.

The PCKDF chief bared that she talked to coach Lenlen Escollante about the race conditions “and she seemed to have no complaints” about the freshwater course set up at the man-made lake inside this impressive sports complex.

Depending on the number of entries in both events and the result of the team managers meeting on Friday, Go said, the finals could be held on the same day on Saturday or the succeeding day.      

The men’s team is also scheduled 500-meter and 1,000-meter races while the women’s squad is lined up for the 500-meter race in its only other event here.

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