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Gold medal winning Dragon Boat Team prepares for Asiad


PhilBoxing.com


No less than the team that won the gold medal in last year?s World Dragon Boat championships will represent the country in the sport in the coming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

National coach and Philippine Dragon Boat Federation technical director Nestor Ilagan yesterday declared that all the 25 men and 25 women who have been earning honors for the country in international waters since the Manila 2005 Southeast Asian Games, including the 2009 world tilt in Prague, Czechoslovakia, have been retained in the hope of continuing their heroics in the Asian Games this November.

?The teams have been training since we returned from Prague and starting next month they will be doubling their build up program in the run up for the coming Asian Games,? Ilagan told his audience in yesterday?s ACCEL-sponsored SCOOP Sa Kamayan weekly session at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.
Besides training at the La Mesa Dam, Ilagan said Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping has also agreed to give the men?s and women?s teams the needed international exposure.

The Filipino boatmen and boatwomen will vying for honors in all six events ? 25-meter, 500-meter and 1,000-meter races where he said they hope to scoop up at least a pair of gold medals., said Ilagan, who appeared as SCOOP guest along with Philippine Rowing Association president Benjie Ramos and RP rowing mentor Ed Maerina.

Ramos, for his part, said the PRA is hiring getting services of Lithuanian coach Rolandas Kazlauskas to strengthen the national team?s campaign in the 2010 Asiad slated Nov. 12 to 27 in China.
Ramos said the 40-year-old Kazlauskas will arrive April to start helping the local coaches in improving the rowers? chances of reaching the Asian Games standard.
Based in Switzerland, Kazlauskas first coached the RP team from 1998 to 2001, before he was recruited to mentor the Hong Kong and South Korean squads. He returned to Manila in 2007 and helped the local rowers in its Thailand Southeast Asian Games and Beijing Olympic qualifying campaigns.

?He?s a good motivator and coach. We wanted him to focus mainly on training specific athletes for our Asian Games bid,? Ramos said during the SCOOP sa Kamayan forum , adding that Kazlauskas, a native of Kaunas, is expected to join the RP team for six months to train the selected five athletes chosen by the association based on their chances to attain the Asian Games criteria.

The five potential rowers are veterans Benjie Tolentino, Joe Rodriguez, Alvin Amposta, Nestor Cordova and rookie Roque Abala. From the five athletes, three of them can be included in the Asiad-bound RP delegation.

Fourteen events will be contested in the Asiad but Ramos said the Filipino rowers will be fielded in in the lightweight singles sculls and the lightweight doubles where the local rowers have the best chances of winning.

?Benjie, Joe and Nestor are competing for the lightweight singles slot, while Alvin and Roque are most suited for doubles. This will still be evaluated we finalize our lineup in July,? Maerina said in Filipino.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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