RAVENNA, Italy- The Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team grabbed its first gold medal in the 9th International Dragon Boat Federation Club Crews World Championships that is currently held here today.
Lt Col Harold Cabunoc, the President of the elite roster of Army paddlers, said that the team lorded the Small Boat, 200m Premier Open event starting from the eliminations up to the grand finals. The event was hotly contested by strong teams from Germany, Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.
"Our team posted the lowest time record of 47.85secs in this event. That was an example of the 'shock and awe' that my team is capable of in dragon boat racing," said Cabunoc.
Fastest boat crew
Cabunoc also said that the team has gained the reputation around the world as the 'fastest boat crew in the world' after breaking world records in the 200m Premier Open events starting in 2007.
"We cemented our brand as the fastest boat crew after posting another 5 world records during the World Nations Championships held in Tampa Bay in August 2011. Seven of my paddlers were members of the Pinoy Dragon Warriors, the elite team which brought home 5 golds and 2 silvers during that prestigious competition three years ago."
The team will also see action during the 500m Premier Open that will be held here on Sunday at 10:00am (4pm Mla time).
Learning about the participation of the Philippine Army, proud Filipinos around Ravenna flocked to the team's hotel to offer support.
Noli Galzote, 45, of Gerona, Tarlac was among those who offered free ride for the Army paddlers. He waited for hours at the Ravenna train station to fetch the soldiers.
"I did not know their itinerary but I just waited until they arrived at the station. The sight of their distinctive flag-inspired uniform excited me," said Galzote who also brought along his brother and two other friends who all have cars.
Liza Gamboa, 55, of San Jacinto, Pangasinan, also came to provide transport and food provisions. She was accompanied by her 80-year old husband, Giorgio Minestrini, a former ship captain.
"We are your parents here in Ravenna. I am always proud to give my all out support to you because you had been giving honor for our country for years now," said Gamboa.
Photo caption: Members of the Philippine Army Dragon Boat team pose for a souvenir photo after receiving the gold medal in the 200m Premier Open, Small Boat Category of the 9th IDBF Club Crews World Championships held in Stadiana Bacin, Ravenna, Italy from September 3-7, 2014. (Photo by Giorgio Minestrini)