Go bullish on canoe kayak’s medal chances

January 31, 2019

THE Philippine Canoe Kayak and Dragon Boat Federation (PCKDF) looks to win at least five gold medals in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games in Subic later this year.

That’s the modest assessment of PCKDF president Jonne Go when asked about the country’s chances during her  maiden appearance in the 8th “Usapang Sports” presented by the Tabloid  Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.

“It’s hard to say, but I think we have a very good chance of winning at least five gold medals out of the 12 events  we  have in the coming SEA Games,” said Go, who was accompanied during the weekly sports session by national team coach Len Escollante.

Both  Go and  Escollante agreed that Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar will be  the biggest threats to the Philippines in the SEA Games.

“When it comes to dragonboat, nandito talaga sa Southeast Asia  yun mga  malalakas. Dito nag umpisa. Yun Indonesia,Thailand  at  Myanmar,  magagaling talagang  kalaban,” explained  Escollante, who was also the coach of the PCKDF team  which  bagged the  world title in the 2018 ICF World  Dragon Boat Championships in  Gainesville, Georgia last September.

“But we really have top caliber athletes now in  both dragon boat and canoe kayak. Talagang pinaghahandaan natin  itong SEA Games. Lamang  pa din  tayo dahil may  homecourt advantage. Yun mga boat, galing  din sa atin,” she added.

Also high in the calendar of the PCKDF is the hosting of the World Dragon Boat Congress in Manila in November, 2020.

“We feel honored for  the trust and confidence in choosing the Philippines as host of the 2020 World Dragon Boat Congress,” said Go, who is also a high-ranking official of  the Asian Dragon Boat Association, headed by Toshiho Narita.

The country will  actually be the first Southeast Asian country -- and second Asian nation -- to host the  prestigious event since Hong Kong in 1997.

Go, who also s erved as chef de mission of the 2018 World Youth Olympic held  in Buenes Aires, Argentina, said  the  world-class Filipino  hospitality  will be on display during the congress also supported by  the  Philippine Sports Commission  (PSC), headed by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, and   Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) under Ricky Vargas.

“Malayo pa man  ay pinaghahandaan na  namin ito  para maging maayos ang pagpapatakbo at hindi tayo mapahiya sa mga foreign delegates sa  una natin pag-host sa congress,” said Go, adding  Narita will be one of the dignitaries coming to the country next  year.

Also  present during the session  were  well-known  actor-director  Carlo Maceda  and  Rinbert  Galarde, who  talked  about the  launching of  the Community Basketball  Association  (CBA) in San Mateo, Rizal  last  Jan. 27;   and  veteran   motocross  organizer  Sam Tamayo and  young stars Bornok Mangosong  and  Jasmin  Jao, who discussed  the  coming the first leg of the MX Messiah Fairgrounds tomorrow  at the MMF Clubt in Taytay, Rizal.

The two-hour sports session can be viewed on Facebook via Glitter Livestream @glitter.ph

TOPS   is  composed of  sports  editors, columnists,  sportswriters  and  photographers from the country’s leading tabloids.