Philippine Rowers Dominate with Impressive Medal Collection
Filipino paddlers amassed medals in a recent continental meet in Hong Kong, signaling the resurgence of the Philippines in the cutthroat canoe-kayak international scene. Ojay Fuentes won two gold medals and a silver out of the 20 podium finishes that Team Philippines collected in the Hong Kong Asian Cup.
The 25-year-old Fuentes clinched the gold in the men’s open C1 500 meters and 200-m races, as well as a silver in the men’s open C1 marathon 23 kilometers. Len Escollante, Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation (PCKDF) president, hailed the team for hurdling challenges in the last three years.
Aside from Fuentes, paddler Joanna Barca clinched three individual victories in the women’s U23 C1 500-m and 200-m, along with the women’s U23 C1 marathon 23-km event. The wins are seen as a prelude to the Philippines hosting the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championships next year.
In kayaking, Lealyn Baligasa and Kimly Adie Balboa secured a gold in the women’s open K2 1000-m event. The results bode well for the PH hosting of the world championships in Puerto Princesa City in 2023.