Thursday, 18 August 2011

Five Gold, Two Silver Medals- Philippine Dragon Boat team

Posted by chardyboy on Thursday, August 18, 2011 0 comments


(Editor’s note: The Dragon Boat team left NAIA incognito and its amazing feat was achieved with modest means, as noted by the author.)
MANILA, Philippines — In Tampa, Florida, United States, 2,000 paddlers from 17 countries, the fastest and best boat racers from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (that includes Europe) competed for gold medals. The Filipino paddlers harvested an incredible five gold and two silver medals in seven events in more than a week of contests for supremacy.

Lack of recognition but...
What they lack in credentials/recognition from both the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) was more than compensated by: 1) a lot of prayers, 2) their courage/determination, 3) patriotism, 4) honest willingness to sacrifice, and 5) pride, among other virtues.
Leaving Philippines incognito
They left NAIA incognito but their closest kin and friends were convinced our paddlers would return home with extreme good tidings.
Upon learning of their amazing feat, two or three TV/radio anchors asked POC and PSC officials if Dragon Boat team deserved a heroes’ welcome. Our sports agencies recited an array of technicalities in lieu of praise that denied any form of recognition or thanks to the new world champions.
One official referred to the team members as old, hollow, and reportedly used the words “mga ampao.” But the Palace said it is leaving the matter of resignation to the “official.”
Our three world medals in 80 years
In our long history as a member of the world Olympic sports, only three Filipinos won medals and they were less than gold medals: Bronze for Simeon Torribio (of Bohol) who placed third in high jump in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and two silvers for our two boxers. Torribio was elected congressman of Bohol by his proud and grateful provincemates for placing their province on the Olympic sports map.
Breakfast in bed
Years ago, our athletes at the ASEAN meet in Singapore complained about their accommodations and the meals served to them. In contrast, they cited the lifestyle enjoyed by their PSC officials, one or two of whom ordered “breakfast in bed” at a five-star hotel. After the gossip turned into a full-blown scandal, Malacañang was forced to intervene by sacking the sports officials.
Heroes’ welcome/citation
But last Friday (August 12), President Noynoy himself extended a heroes’ welcome to the paddlers’ small delegation, and commended the honor they didn’t get from POC and PSC. The President received the team at Malacañang’s Heroes Hall and pledged they could get their due rewards and benefits.
The Dragon Boat team received a presidential citation for winning five gold and two silver medals and breaking two world records at the 10th International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships. The President vowed to rid sports of politics and scolded the sports officials for playing politics, saying politics should be left to politicians.
More praises
At my coffee, shop regulars and guests heaped praises on our paddlers composed of members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Six of the paddlers are children of fishermen from Negros Occ. A heroes’ welcome from the town of Enrique B. Magalona (named after Senator Magalona, father of actor Pancho Magalona) is now being prepared by Mayor David Albert Lacson.
The old PAAF
In the old days, there was only one sports official and spokesman who supervised and managed our national sports. It was the PAAF (Philippine Amateur Athletics Federation) under Antonio de las Alas (former speaker and secretary of finance) of the Commonwealth government under Quezon and Osmeña.
There were no factions then to challenge the PAAF leadership. PAAF was the equivalent of the current NGO and relied mostly on contributions/donations from the private sector. The old Congress – before the martial law regime of 1972 – had authorized the whole proceeds of one sweepstakes draw as donation of PCSO.
Siga-siga in sports agencies
Veteran observers have noted that our sports agencies today have a number of “siga-siga” whose only contribution to national sports is lip service of this and that or that and this.
Most of us were not familiar with the Dragon Boat team before its paddlers were awarded five gold and two silver medals. Their heroism and modesty can still change our sports officials’ view of things to come if they care. (Comments are welcome at


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