The Philippine Dragon Boat Federation team ended its 10th International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida with a rousing win in the 500 meter men’s small boat race to win its fifth gold medal in record-breaking fashion and cap a spectacular performance against all odds.
The victory in the final event took the Filipinos tall to 5 gold and 2 silver medals for a total of 7 in the top-level competition despite being denied recognition by the Philippine Olympic Committee and financial support by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Known as the “Dragon Warriors” the Philippine team won the opening heat defeating Japan and Trinidad and Tobago, turning in a time of 2:38 to advance to the finals.
ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo reported that in the finals “, the Filipino paddlers once again stamped their class, smoking Australia, Japan, Italy and Puerto Rico to take the gold. Australia placed second in the event while Japan came in third.”
Castillejo, host of the popular sports show “Sports Unlimited” whose crusade on behalf of the Philippine Dragon Boat team received tremendous response from the public as well as private sector sponsors said that the Dragon Warriors also” set new world records in all of the events that they won: the 1000-m men’s event, the 200-m men’s event, the 500-m men’s event, the 200-m mixed event, and the 500-m mixed event.”
One of the highlights of the competition was the all-out support of Filipinos in Tampa Bay and other parts of the US.During the week-long competition, Filipinos cheered on the Dragon Warriors in every event that they competed in. They also brought food and drinks for the champion athletes. The officials and team members expressed their gratitude for the unbelievable support of their fellow Filipinos.
Castillejo noted that even the Dragon Warriors’ competitors could not help but be amazed at their achievements. A member of the Trinidad and Tobago team which had earlier claimed that holding a world championship without the Philippines would be like staging the World Cup of football without Brazil said “its a phenomenal team. We kept trying to keep with them, we aspire to be like them. They are our heroes.”"
The Dragon Warriors will stay in Tampa Bay for 2 more days. They are set to fly back to Los Angeles on Wednesday and are scheduled to arrive in Manila on Friday morning to what is expected to be a heroes welcome.
- By Ronnie Nathanielsz /PhilBoxing.com / Mon, 08 Aug 2011
Video by: Chad Soriano
Photo by: Marc Barcenas
COBRA Philippine Dragon Boat Federation Team thanks the following major sponsors:
* Asia Brewery Inc. – COBRA Energy Drink
* Philippine AirLines (PAL)
and minor sponsors:
* Phillex Mining Corp
* Columbia Sportswear
and to all the FILIPINO community in Tampa, Florida USA!!!