POC downplays PH dragon boat team’s win, says they competed against beginners
(SPOT.ph) Philippine Olympic Committee Director Jeff Tamayo has claimed that the Philippine Dragon Boat Team competed against more inferior and less experienced teams in the recent World Championships in Tampa, Florida, where the team won five gold and two silver medals, reports ABS-CBN News.
"They’re like big fish in a small pond," Tamayo said in the report. "Kargado na sila from the years of (Philippine Sports Commission) funding tapos hahataw sila sa mga bagong countries na bagong sali (They've been training for years from PSC funding and then they'll compete against rookie teams). Don’t tell me that’s fair. But I congratulate them for the gold." Tamayo also suggested for some of PDBF's members to retire to give way to younger paddlers.
According to previous reports, the POC does not recognize members of the internationally awarded Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) as national athletes. Sen. Pia Cayetano earlier filed a resolution to investigate the reasons behind the apparent lack of support for the PDBF and pinned the issue on "politics"-a sentiment shared by an Interaksyon article that analyzed the subject.
According to Interaksyon, the election of POC president Peping Cojuangco in 2008 divided the sports associations. "(PDBF) cast its lot with Cojuangco's rival for the post... Art Macapagal. PDBF board member Judith Hakim ran under Macapagal's ticket while current secretary-general Nestor Ilagan campaigned hard for Cojuangco's challenger," the article said. Cojuangco, however, denied that the issues surrounding the dragon boat team were related to politics in the sports commissions.