Filipino Dragon Boat team secures first gold in World Championships
The Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Team broke world records when they won the first men’s small-boat 1,000-meter race at the World Championships in Tampa, Florida, on Friday. The Filipinos paddled across the finish line nearly three seconds before the Australian team, and Hungary was awarded third three seconds after Australia claimed silver.
“We trained under the same weather and on the same placid water conditions,” Michelle Evio, a Cobra squad paddler, told The Inquirer. “But I guess we got inspired because there is no garbage here.”
Private investors, such as Philippine Airlines, are currently funding the team’s operations with international money transfers, after the Cobras lost the financial support of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission, the news source reports.
The financial instability makes this story more of an underdog victory, as the team was unable to practice small-boat races prior to the competition. In spite of the setbacks, the team managed to secure a world record time of 4 minutes and 57.13 seconds. The nation already holds world titles from the 2007 and 2009 championships, and this win may be the first on the Cobras’ path to victory.