BUTUAN CITY – Race organizers and residents here have high hopes for the future of dragon boat races after its first successful show off last Saturday, September 15, at the Philippine Ports Authority riverside complex.
The Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), which celebrated its 111th founding anniversary, organized the race, challenging two other pioneering dragon boat school teams from Butuan Doctors College (BDC) and Agusan College Incorporated (ACI).
The paddlers from the three teams competed in three different categories across 200 meters in the waters of the Agusan River. The categories were divided as all-male, all-female and mixed male and female teams.
The Saturday race was part of the Run and Row for Mother Earth event, with the objective of promoting awareness for the protection and preservation of Agusan River.
FSUU vice president Fr. Chito Butardo announced that the success of the preliminary race has inspired the three founding school teams to further work hand-in-hand in promoting and developing the sport in the region.
“Right now our focus is with the schools and hopefully this event will create ripples inspiring others to follow soon in our advocacy. With more teams competing here we will hopefully raise the standards and one day compete in bigger race outside Butuan,” said Butardo.
Students from the schools went all out in their support for their own respective teams. The riverside was filled with shouts and cheers from the students as the boats raced through the river.
Lady Mae Gevertas, a 2nd-year Education student of ACI, expressed how nice and fun the entire event was and that she and all her school mates enjoyed the race.
“Even though we only won a single category in the race we are all proud of our school’s dragon boat team and the time and enthusiasm they gave out to represent our school,” said Gevertas.
BDC medical technology 1st-year students Levy Duro and Jane Tero spoke openly about their disappointment about the result of the race after their school failed to win in any category.
“We are furious about not winning any, but we did enjoy the entire race. I bet we would have won if not for the examination period and the college week preparations our team members would have to undergo. They had less time to train because of it,” the BDC students said.
Roland Mark Torralba, team captain of FSUU, attributed discipline and the hard work they dedicated in training for the success of his team.
“Everybody on our team showed how dedicated they were in the training and it paid off during the race. In the last race, we learned our lesson that we should focus our efforts not only in one category but in all of the different divisions and give it our best,” said Torralba.
The race organizers are hoping that next time it would be a much bigger race and that they would be able to bring in other teams from other parts of the Philippines to participate in the race.
The race results are as follows: FSUU won the all-male category with a time of 57.80 seconds followed by BDC at 57.93. The all female category was again won by FSUU at 1:09.40 minutes, with ACI taking second with 1:10.10 minutes. The mixed male and female category saw ACI victorious with 1:04.75 minutes followed by FSUU with 1:04.94 minutes.
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