The Philippine team SAG-1 dominated the 4th Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragon Boat Festival held recently in Guam, USA, besting eight teams from Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The Filipino club crew took home a sweeping win with six gold medals and two overall champion awards for conquering all the events in the 200- and 400-meter distances that the team participated in.
In the women’s 200- and 400-meter small boat (12-seater) categories, the SAG-1 paddlers clocked in a cumulative time of two minutes, 25 seconds, and 54 milliseconds (2:25.54) and 5:30.04, respectively. Host Guam’s team took second place in the 200-meter category at 2:28.07, while Hong Kong pocketed silver in the 400-meter event at 5:44.61.
The teams from Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong nabbed podium finishes in the mixed 200- and 400-meter standard (22-seater) races, while Philippines’ SAG-1 surged to the top with registered total times of 2:02.46 and 4:41.27, respectively.
The Philippine SAG-1 Dragon Boat Team won against eight teams from six other countries, claiming all golds in the 200- and 400-meter distances in the women’s small boat (12-seater), mixed standard boat (22-seater), and open small boat (12-seater) events.
Pinoy athletes also ruled the finals of the open small boat (12-seater) in both 200- and 400-meter categories, nosing out the Hong Kong team (1:03.53) in the 200-meter race at 1:02.03 and, in the 400-meter event, beating the Guam unit (2:23.85) at 2:20.32.
“We were overwhelmed with the results, but I also believe that the two months of hard training by the team led us to victory,” said SAG-1 Dragon Boat Team Captain Michael Lara.
For SAG-1 Dragon Boat Team Coach Ric Nacional, joining an international competition entails a bigger sense of responsibility.
“We are not just a club team once we join an international event. Every stroke of our paddles is dedicated to the Philippines. We are grateful to represent our country in international competitions such as this one,” he shared after their last team huddle before the paddlers left for Guam.
Lara also talked about the benefits of the sport as it continues to inspire and encourage more Filipinos, especially because SAG-1 is comprised mainly of working professionals who carve out time during weekends to train with the team.
“Dragon boat promotes the value of working as one solid unit to achieve a common goal, no matter how challenging it may be. As we apply this during training, we hope that it also translates to the paddlers’ lives outside the boat, in their homes, community, and society,” he added.
The Manila-based crew will next contend in the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Dragonboat Federation Club Crew Challenge Series 4 on December 15 in Malawaan Park, Subic.