Thursday, August 4, 2011


Amidst a group of well-wishers from media and supporters, the Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Federation team flew to the US late last night to defend their world record title in the 10th International Dragon Boat World Championship starting today in Tampa, Florida.

Training on longer distances, the Cobra-PDBF paddlers who won the men's 200-meter race in record-breaking fashion the past two stagings of the world championships, are looking to add the men's 500m, 1000m and mixed 500m to their medal collection.

Cobra-PDBF coach Nestor Ilagan said the team is prepared for the challenge, having trained on extended distances—rowing thrice a day from Manila Yacht Club to Manila Ocean Park—with premium on speed.

``We've trained hard for this and anticipated all possible conditions at sea,'' said Ilagan.

In the 2007 world championships, the PDBF won the gold in the men's 200m in Sydney, Australia and set a world record of 42.16 seconds.

The team successfully defended its world title two years later in Prague, Czech Republic, erasing its old record and setting a new mark of 40.02 seconds. The Philippines also won the mixed division 200m in the 2009 world championships.

Standing in the PDBF's way for another shot at glory are Canada, US, Germany, China, Australia and Czech Republic.

``These countries are the strong contenders for the title in both short and long distances,'' said Ilagan, who is confident that the 25 champion paddlers have the edge in their discipline and determination to win; shared values that have gained the respect of stalwart supporters Cobra Energy Drink and Philippine Airlines.

``We are pleased that Cobra-PDBF now has the opportunity to win more titles, set more world records and bring more glory and honor for our country,'' said Mike Ngo, Asia Brewery’s AVP for Marketing, Media and Budget.

Made up of unsung heroes from Philippine Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel plus the best civilian women paddlers, the team has put the country in the world sporting map similar to the feats of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, Efren ``Bata'' Reyes of billiards and US bowling Hall of Famer Paeng Nepomuceno.

``We're hoping to be re-affirmed as the world's best,'' said Ilagan.

``The prayers and support from all Filipinos will inspire us to work harder and win more medals for our country.''

Some media practitioners and celebrities who continue to rally support for the Cobra-PDBF team are Santi Elizalde of MBC Radio with his team of DJs; DZRH’s Deo Macalma, Ruth Abao, Love Radio’s Papa Jack, Nicole Hyala, Chris Tsuper, Yes FM’s Maria Maldita, Robin Shena, Luke Mejares, ABS CBN News/’s Yvette Novenario, Studio23/ABS CBN Sports’s Peter Musngi, March Ventosa, Vince Rodriguez, Sports writer/commentator Anthony Suntay for RFAL Sports on Wave 89.1, VIVA’s Vic Del Rosario, Sports celebrity commentator Ronnie Nathanielsz and showbiz celebrity, Anne Curtis.

Catch the Cobra-PDBF Race Updates in Florida, USA daily at Studio23 during weekdays (2pm, 4pm, 6p, 8pm) and weekends (1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm) starting today until Aug. 8.

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