Pinay Dragon Boat Team wins gold in Taiwan; two-time champion Pinoy team has no airfare for August competition

( Practicing on the murky waters of Manila Bay did not prevent the Philippine Dragon Boat Team from winning international races like the recent Taiwan International Dragon Boat championship where the women's team bagged the top spot in the 500-meter Open Standard category last June 4-7, reports GMA News.

"It was a good race. I knew it from the start... from the first 30 strokes of the race that we were going to win," said Assistant Coach Annabelle Tario. Apart from the Taiwan competition, the Philippines also won the world championships in Australia in 2007 and again in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2009, where the team holds a 40.02-second record for the Men's 200-meter Sprint, reports ABS-CBN News.

However, the Philippine Team has yet to find funding for the next world championship in Tampa, Florida, in August. "Nalulungkot kami kasi two-time champion kami pero hanggang ngayon hindi pa din nakikilala ang sport namin (We're sad because we've been two-time champions yet our sport is still not popular)," Usman Anterola, the team’s captain, said.

According to ABS-CBN, the team does not have enough food sometimes, and has resorted to fishing for clams just to be able to eat. The paddlers said they practically beg just so they can join international competitions.

But despite the lack of support, head coach Nestor Ilagan said they are proud to represent the Philippines. "Tumataba ang aming puso lalo na kapag nananalo kami... Every time pumupunta kami ng ibang bansa, kapag nalaman na Filipino, tiyak maraming fans yan (Every time we go to other countries to compete, Filipinos have a lot of fans."

For more on this story, log on to ABS-CBN News and GMA News.



GMA New TV’s report on the dragon boat team’s recent win.

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