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PH dragon boat team claims 2 silvers in world tilt

Filipino paddlers for the Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation cross the line in the 20-seater senior mixed 2000m race. Handout photo.

GAINESVILLE, Georgia – The Philippines continued to shine on the world stage after winning two silver medals in the 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park in Georgia.

Always a strong contender in the small boat, the paddlers of the Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation came close to bagging a gold in the 10-seater senior men's 500-meters, but Hungary wrestled the title away near the finish.

The Hungarians clocked 2:05.021 to nip the Filipinos (2:06.18) in the last few meters. Czech Republic checked in at third, more than three seconds after the winner, followed by Italy, Germany, and Ukraine.

Team Philippines was also in contention in the 20-seater senior mixed 2000-meters, but squandered their chances for gold after the United States cut them in the final turn, allowing the Czech Republic to secure a trouble-free finish.

"We were forced to take a longer route, because we might bump the boat of the United States on the last turn," said head coach Len Escollante.

They were released third out of seven teams from the starting line, and chased down the Americans midway through the race.

But when the Filipinos were ready to overtake, the Americans took the inner lane in the final bend, wasting several precious seconds for the Philippines.

"That cost us approximately four to five seconds," PCKDF President Jonne Go said of the Americans' tactic.

"Still, we were able to earn a medal, and I'm proud of what this team has accomplished."

The Czech Republic ruled the 2000-meters in eight minutes and 42.47 seconds, while the Philippines clocked 8:43.98.

Hungary, which overtook Germany in the last five hundred meters, crossed the line in 8:46.22 for the bronze.

Backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and Go for Gold, the team had earlier bagged gold medals in the 20-seater senior mixed 500-meters and the 10-seater senior mixed 500-meters.

Paddlers Mark Jhon Frias, Jordan De Guia, Arche Baylosis, Loberstan Duayao, John Lester Delos Santos, Jerome Solis, John James Pelagio, Miflone Puzon and Franc Feliciano form the core of 20-seater 200m senior mixed category.

Joining them are lady paddlers Apple Jane Abitona, Raquel Almencion, Lealyn Baligasa, drummer Patricia Ann Bustamante and steerer Maribeth Caranto as the Filipinos aim for three more golds on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Apart from the big boat 200m senior mixed, they are bound to race in the finals of the small boat 200m senior men and senior mixed.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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