MANILA -- The Philippine Canoe Kayak and Dragon Boat Federation (PCKDF) looks to win at least five gold medals in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games in Subic later this year.
That’s the modest assessment of PCKDF president Jonne Go when asked about the country’s chances during “Usapang Sports” presented by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.
“It’s hard to say, but I think we have a very good chance of winning at least five gold medals out of the 12 events we have in the coming SEA Games,” said Go, who was accompanied during the weekly sports session by national team coach Len Escollante.
Both Go and Escollante agreed that Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar will be the biggest threats to the Philippines in the SEA Games.
“When it comes to dragon boat, nandito talaga sa Southeast Asia yun mga malalakas. Dito nag-umpisa (strong teams are in Southeast Asia. It started here). Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, magagaling talagang kalaban (they are formidable opponents),” explained Escollante, who was also the coach of the PCKDF team which bagged the world title in the 2018 ICF World Dragon Boat Championships in Gainesville, Georgia last September.
“But we really have top caliber athletes in both dragon boat and canoe kayak. Talagang pinaghahandaan natin itong (We really prepared for this) SEA Games. We have homecourt advantage. Yun mga boat, galing din sa atin (Boats also came from us),” she added.
Also high in the calendar of the PCKDF is the hosting of the World Dragon Boat Congress in Manila in November 2020.
“We feel honored for the trust and confidence in choosing the Philippines as host of the 2020 World Dragon Boat Congress,” said Go, who is also a high-ranking official of the Asian Dragon Boat Association, headed by Toshiho Narita.
The country will actually be the first Southeast Asian country -- and second Asian nation -- to host the prestigious event since Hong Kong in 1997.
Go, who also served as chef de mission of the 2018 World Youth Olympic held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, said the world-class Filipino hospitality will be on display during the congress also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) under Ricky Vargas.
She said Narita will be one of the dignitaries coming to the country next year.
Also present during the session were well-known actor-director Carlo Maceda and Rinbert Galarde, who talked about the launching of the Community Basketball Association (CBA) in San Mateo, Rizal last Jan. 27; and veteran motocross organizer Sam Tamayo and young stars Bornok Mangosong and Jasmin Jao, who discussed the coming first leg of the MX Messiah Fairgrounds on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the MMF Club Manila East in Taytay, Rizal.