CEBU CITY, Philippines- The founder of the Philippine Accessible Disability Services Inc. (PADS) Dragon Boat Team shared the team’s experience in the 16th International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Dragon Boat Racing Championships held last August 13, 2023 in Pattaya, Thailand.
John Paul Maunes, founder and general manager of PADS, said that this year’s IDBF was the most challenging.
“Other countries have already kept up with the level of competition in the world championship, particularly in the para-dragon championship,” Maunes said in a news forum on Tuesday, August 22.
PADS game plan
Maunes admitted that PADS got complacent during the championship.
He said that the team had been on the top in the last three World Championships and so they did not expect the sudden rise of Canada.
“We did not have any information about Canada,” he said.
With the help of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF), PADS adjusted their game plan.
Maunes shared that they adjusted their crew list by having elite paddlers to strengthen the Para-dragon 2 category, where half of the paddlers were able paddlers.
A millisecond difference
Maunes also shared the emotions they felt during the announcing of the winner.
Canada, with longer strokes and ranked number one in the para-dragon world ranking, had been their strongest nemesis upon winning the gold.
“In the naked eye, dungan ra jud mi’g abot sa finish line,” said Maunes.
He mentioned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) was used to determine the winner, with PADS leading by a millisecond against Canada.
Maunes said that they had been aiming to get their first gold medal on the second day of the event. However, their team was given a 15-second time penalty.
READ MORE: PADS loses gold due to time penalty
After struggling for three days, PADS got their first two gold medals in the 500-meter para-dragon mixed 2 category against Canada.
“We were really crying and we were really emotional when we won our first gold medal,” shared Maunes.
PADS ended their journey in the 16th IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship with 19 medals: 6 golds, 5 silvers, and eight bronze medals.
“The paddlers really paddled their hearts out,” said Maunes.
PADS is set to join the 14th IDBF Club Crew World Championships which will be held on September 2024 in Ravenna, Italy.
Maunes has earlier invited the PWDs and the youth to try to join the team in preparation for the tournament.