PADS ends IDBF Championships journey with six golds despite lack of gov’t support
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Accessible Disability Services Inc. (PADS) Dragon Boat Team ended their campaign in the 16th International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Dragon Boat Racing Championships impressively after they tallied their sixth and final gold medal on Sunday, August 13, 2023, in Pattaya, Thailand.
PADS has surpassed their four-gold medal haul in the same competition in 2019.
They paired this year’s six gilts with three silvers and five bronzes at the end of a week-long competition against 16 other nations.
PADS topped the standard boat 500-meter para-dragon mixed 2 category last Sunday and beat Canada anew in the final day of competition.
They crossed the finish line in two minutes and three seconds, while Canada clocked in 2:05 for the silver medal, followed by PADS’ team two in 2:06 for the bronze medal.
On Saturday, PADS also clinched three gold medals by ruling the 200m para dragon mixed 1 and 2, and the standard para-dragon mixed categories.
For PADS general manager John Paul Maunes, the IDBF Championships was their most demanding international campaign, so far.
“The IDBF World Dragon Boat Championship in 2023 in Thailand has proven to be an extremely challenging and mentally demanding event for us. The competition has reached a whole new level at the para-dragon division forcing us to adapt and trust the coaching system of our coaches,” Maunes told CDN Digital.
“Initially, we struggled in the long distance races during the first two days. We almost lost focus. To counter this, we had to alter our game plan and approach our opponents as a united front, as one PDBF- Philippine Dragon Boat Federation,” he added.
Canada topped the overall medal tally with 52 gold medals, 36 silvers, and 13 bronzes, followed by China with a 30-17-6 (gold-silver-bronze) tally. The United States followed on third place with a 24-39-19 tally.
PADS, representing the Philippines, finished at sixth overall, behind Australia (7-11-42), and ahead of Indonesia (5 golds, 1 bronze).
Maunes added that their six-gold medal win in the world championships will be their main cause to reinstate the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) as a National Sports Association (NSA) accredited by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
According to Maunes, amidst their six-gold medal harvest in the world championships, their team, mostly comprised of Persons with Disability (PWD) struggled financially due to the lack of support from the government.
Maunes revealed that the team relied on canned goods for their meals throughout their campaign.
“Lisud kaayo mo serbisyo sa nasud. Wala juy support. Hapit mi ma lockdown sa hotel kay kulang amo-a bayad, amo-a food. Gipabaon namo ug delata ang mga paddlers. Seven sa atoang paddlers, a day before the race pa namo nakuhaan ug tickets. Kani amo-a uniform dili pani bayad. Amo-a plane tickets inutang tanan,” Maunes said.
Still, Maunes said they are determined to continue to represent the Philippines in international competitions.
“Padayon lang gihapon ta. No excuses, sa giingon pa sa kasagaran namong mga paddlers nga mga PWD. Mao jud ni nakadasig sa mga paddlers sa pag race. Amo-a gidala ang mga kasakit ug desperation namo sa atoang nasud ug amoa gihimong motivation para makahatag ug dugang kusug inig bugsay namo.”
The team will fly back to Cebu this Wednesday, August 16, 2023.
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