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Cebu's disabled paddlers win anew in HK Dragonboat race

25 June 2018

PADS is no 1 for the second consecutive year

By Vir B. Lumicao

 Consul Saret with PADS Team Capt Arnold Balais
Paddlers of Cebu-based PADS Adaptive  Dragonboat Racing Team retained their crown in the paradragon event of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Jun 24 by handily defeating the competition in the 400-meter championship race.

Another team of Filipino men and women, Triton, won a gold trophy by ruling the women’s 400-meter race on Jun 22, then snared a silver trophy in the 200-meter women’s event of the three-day festival on Victoria Harbour in Central.

To loud cheers of “Pilipinas! Pilipinas!” and “Go! Go! PADS!” from OFW fans on the promenade on Sunday, defending champions PADS charged ahead at the boom of the cannon and progressively left its five challengers behind as it raced to the finish line.

Here is a link to the race which PADS dominated from start to finish:

The victory won a large gold trophy and a bunch of gold medals for the physically challenged men and women of PADS.

Yas San Kam Ying took second place and NAAC Top Brilliance finished third.

“I’m overjoyed. We did it again. Once more, we have proved the capability of the Filipino,” said coach and drummer Christian Ian Sy as he waded through the crowd of screaming and flag-waving fans who pressed towards the paddlers.
PADS member with adoring fans

Minutes later, members of the team posed with bevies of tearful Filipinas and a few locals who shared the pride and joy of the hardy bunch who overcame their disabilities to become champions in one of the events of the annual dragon boat festival.

Consul Paulo Saret, who was present at the awarding ceremony, also beamed with pride at the achievement of PADS.

“Last year, they came here without support and won. Now they came back and they won again,” the diplomat told The SUN when asked to comment.

“Physical disability is not a hindrance to success. But they need the all-out support of our kababayans, and the PCG is always there to give our all-out support as long as we are informed in advance,” he said.

This year, PADS came to Hong Kong with a bigger contingent of 44 paddlers and four coaches as the team has expanded, manager JP Ecarma told The SUN. Last year, there were only 33. He was on hand to assemble his paddlers at Pier 9 for their semifinal race at 11:10am.

He said the team had prepared for three months for the event, initially training four times a week and then doing it every day as the tournament neared.

The team was also better off now than last year, when members had to scrounge for plane tickets and pocket money. Now it has a few corporate sponsors such as IMG and Alaxan, which sent their own media teams to document PADS’ glory quest.

This year, PADS surprised everyone when it competed in the heats on Jun 23 and finished in the top five to qualify for Sunday’s International Open Championship. The team, however, failed to win a place in the final.

Meanwhile, Triton bested five other teams from Hong Kong, China, Japan, India and New York in the 400 meters race to capture the International Women’s Championship.
It also took silver in the small boat category of that event.

Triton also competed in the International Mixed Championship 200-meter small boat event on Sunday afternoon, but its boat was struck by Hubbis Stormy Dragon’s when the Hong Kong team suddenly veered left from Lane 2.

Antonette Suyao, Triton manager, said her team had to slow down, causing it to lose time. She protested the incident with the organizing committee and, after reviewing a TV footage, the panel disqualified Stormy Dragon.

But she said the committee refused to let the team do a time trial race.

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