Dragon boat bets to train in Myanmar

Dragon boat bets to train in Myanmar

AIMING to surpass its dragon boat rowing harvest in the 2010 Indonesia Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation will train its rowers in Myanmar a month before their scheduled competition in the sportfest in the new Burmese capital of Naypyitaw in December.

“We got PSC approval to train in Myanmar month before our competition in the SEA Games, and we aim to make the most out of it,” said coach Len Escollante, whose charges went home with a surprise haul of a gold and a pair of silver and bronze medals in the SEA Games two years ago.

The Filipino rowers were the only team that broke the monopoly of Myanmar, which bagged nine out of the 10 gold medals at stake in dragon boat discipline.

Escollante added they have a good chance of surpassing their performance last year considering the hosts, eyeing to boost their gold tally in a sport where they are considered a force to reckon with, had increased the dragon boat rowing events to 18 from 10 in Indonesia.

“Myanmar added the six-seater and mixed events in the sport, raising the number of events to 18,” said Escollante, who will also bring the members of the canoe and kayak teams to the training stint since majority of them also double as dragon boat rowers.

She added they expect to bring around 50 to 60 rowers for training at the Ngalike Dam on the outskirts of Naypyitaw. The canoe and kayak events are scheduled from Dec. 9 to 13 while the dragon boat competitions are set Dec. 18 to 21.

While several of the Filipino paddlers who won six gold medals and one silver in the ICF world dragon boat championships in Milan, Italy in September would be considered, Escollante disclosed they are also scouting for more female bets for the six-seater and mixed competitions.

“We might go to Boracay because we heard there are a lot of strong female rowers there,” Escollante said.

PCKF secretary general Jone Go said the canoe, kayak and dragon boat teams have begun their mental and physical conditioning at their training camp in Taytay, Rizal overlooking the Laguna Lake.

Go said because of the high cost of competing in the ICF Asian dragon boat rowing championship in India in June, the PCKF decided to channel its budget from the PSC to training in Myanmar for the SEA Games.

She added they may be able to size up the opposition when they see action during a Southeast Asian dragon boat rowing competition scheduled in Singapore in March.