Crack rowers to spearhead PH SEAG bid
MANILA, Philippines - Amid the uproar over the calendar of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar and plans of sending a token delegation, the Philippine dragon boat team is looking to send a full roster to the biennial meet.
"We're targeting a full-boat crew for men and women so we can be flexible in fielding our personnel, some will compete in the mixed, others in all-women, others in all-men," said Len Escollante, coach of the paddlers who are seeking to follow up their six-gold, one-silver performance from last year's ICF Dragon Boat World Championships with a bountiful harvest in SEAG.
The Myanmar SEA Games will stake 17 gold medals in traditional boat race (dragon boat), seven more than what was offered in the previous edition.
In the program are races in the 500m, 1,000m and 2,000m distances for 10-seaters and 20-seaters for the men's, women's and mixed categories. A virtually unfamiliar event, men's and women's five-seater 500m race, has been introduced in an apparent bid to boost the bid of the hosts, drawing protests from Pinoy paddlers.
"We would like to question the inclusion of the five-seater as a regular (medal) event. It's never been played before, not in the SEA Games, not in the Asian Games. If they really wanted to have that, maybe they should have introduced it first (as a demonstration event)," said Escollante.
She further said that only Myanmar and Thailand have boats suited for this particular event, leaving Phl and other nations at an obvious disadvantage.