TO gauge their build-up for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the national dragon boat paddlers leave for Ningbo, China today to see action in the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Cup.
National coach Len Escollante is keen to surpass the lone gold her charges won for the first time in the games when they ruled the men’s standard 500-meter race in the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games at the Karawang Lake in East Java.
The last time the sport was held in the 2015 edition in Singapore, Pinoy paddlers returned home with a solitary bronze in the women’s 200-meter event.
Escollante is optimistic her charges can deliver mints in the country’s drive for overall honors.
After the World Cup, she said she might make some slight adjustments to boost the team’s chances in all of the six dragon boat events scheduled on Dec. 6 to 7.
“The World Cup will serve as our gauge. We may not win it all, but at least we can check our time and make some adjustments,” Escollante said.
“We hope to at least bag three gold medals – in the 200-meter and 1,000-meter mixed standard races and the 500-meter four-seater event,” Escollante, a member of the national women’s volleyball squad that bagged the gold in the 1993 Singapore Games, said.
Her wards hope to exploit their familiarity with the racing conditions at the Malawaan Park in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone where they have been training since August.
“We hope to use the World Cup as a yardstick of the progress of our training. I’m glad this World Cup came at least a month before the SEA Games. We can see where we are right now in terms of preparation and the areas we need to improve on as we head to the Southeast Asian Games,” Escollante said.
Escollante also thanked Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez for the PSC’s all-out support.
“Chairman Ramirez and the PSC have been very supportive. They gave everything we need: from financial support to equipment and other kinds of assistance,” she said.