PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee chief Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. is keen on seeing the Philippine dragon boat team in action in the next Olympics.
One of the few sports where Filipinos have a big chance of winning medals, Cojuangco is all for the inclusion of the sport in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro summer games.
“We’re hoping that dragon boat will be included in the Olympics,” said Cojuangco after seeing Filipino paddlers snatch two silver medals in the recent 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China.
Cojuangco said there is a strong chance dragon boat will be included in the list of events in Rio de Janeiro since the discipline is now under canoe-kayak, an Olympic sport.
“We’re highly competitive in this sport,” said Cojuangco. “In fact, we lost the two gold medals by only a fraction of a second.”
The Indonesians seized the 200-meter, 10-man crew race in 43.458 seconds against the Filipinos’ 43.992 and bronze medalist China’s 45.076. The Indonesians also nipped the Filipinos in the 500m event.
He also praised coach Len Escollante and the members of the team for rising above adversity despite the inadequate financial support the paddlers have been getting.
“I like the attitude of our rowers, the fighting spirit and their determination despite the handicaps,” said Cojuangco.
A rival dragon boat squad composed of former national team members shone on the world stage after nailing five golds in the International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida, last year.
Philippine Olympic Team