The Philippine dragon boat team is all set for a rematch against a Russian group which got beaten by the Filipino paddlers in Moscow last year.
Plans are afoot for a dual meet between the Russians and the Filipinos tentatively set in Boracay middle of the year, Inquirer quoted Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonne Go as saying.
The Filipinos reportedly bagged three gold medals amid wintry conditions in the International Canoe Kayak Dragon Boat World Championships in Moscow four months ago.
They pulled off victories in the 20-seater senior mixed team 500-meter and 200m events and 10-seater junior mixed 200m race, all at the expense of the Russians at the famed Moscow Olympic rowing and canoeing training center in Krylatskoe, the report said.
“More than the projected rematch with Russia in these races, it will give our team optimum exposure in preparation for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia,” said Go, who also sits as auditor of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Kuala Lumpur has scratched dragon boat events in the forthcoming 2016 Southeast Asian Games, forcing Filipino paddlers to look ahead in the Asian Games where 10 gold medals are at stake, the report pointed out.
The Philippines recently pocketed five of the 10 gold medals in the Asian Championships held in Puerto Princesa—standard boat men’s 500m, 200m, small boat men’s 200m, 10-seater junior mixed 500m and 10-seater women’s 500m, it said.
“They (Russians) are one of the strongest teams in the world when it comes to dragon boat racing,” national coach Len Escollante was quoted as saying by Inquirer. “We hope to learn more when we race against them.”
Philippine Sports Commission Chair Butch Ramirez reportedly met Russian embassy officials late last year and among those drawn up were a projected rematch between Grandmasters Eugene Torre and Anatoly Karpov as well as the dragon boat dual race between Russia and the Philippines.