Filipino paddlers will be among the strong contenders when they defend their crown in two categories in the 2018 International Canoe Kayak Federation Dragon Boat World Championships at Lake Lanier in Gainesville from Sept. 13 to 16.
National coach Len Escollante said this as the Philippines will make a huge effort in their campaign in 20-seater mixed 200-meter and 500-meter categories.
“Standard iyung boats na gagamitin dito, kaya familiar sila sa mga ito at defending champion pa,” said Escollante during the team’s sendoff at the Aristocrat Restaurant in Malate, Manila.
A total of 23 Filipino paddlers flew to Atlanta, Georgia Sunday morning for the competition.
Host United States is among the team to beat with Russia, Hungary, Germany and France in the two events where Filipino paddlers are seeking podium finishes.
“We believe that our dragonboat team has the tools to go ahead with the world’s best,” said Go For Gold’s Jeremy Go, who is the vice president of Powerball Marketing and Logistics Corporation.
Philippine Sports Commission board member Arnold Agustin was around at the sendoff on behalf of Chairman William Ramirez.
Among the members of the team are Mark Jhon Frias, Hermie Macaranas, Norwell Cajes, John Lester de los Santos, Oliver Manaig, Roberto Pantaleon, Lee Robin Santos, Jordan de Guia and Jonathan Ruz.
The Philippines won its crowns in the mixed 200-meters and 500-meters two years ago in Moscow.
Among the lady paddlers joining are Rosalyn Esguerra, Rhea Roa, Christine Mae Talledo and Sharmane Mangilit.