Organizers of the dragon boat events on Sunday upheld the protest of the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Federation and reinstated the bronze medal for the Philippines in the men’s 1000-meter 10+1+1 race.
The jury of appeals composed of chairman Luk Wai Hung of Hong Kong, Than Toe of Myanmar, and Edy Suyono of Indonesia ruled in favor of the Philippine team, which was stripped of the medal by Malaysian official Lim Tay Hean for alleged illegal substitution of players. The team originally informed boat control committee head Mohammad Bin Azcol of the changes before later being disallowed.
“There was a misunderstanding of the Philippine team that the change of crew was approved by the chief marshal,” said the jury decision.
PCKF secretary-general Jonne Go expressed satisfaction with the decision.
“This is a triumph for our athletes and I hope it increases their desire to be better in the sprint races,” she said.
Go insinuated that the decision to disqualify the Philippine squad was a result of politics. The dragon boat races in the SEA Games are organized by the International Dragon Boat Federation, with which the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation is affiliated. Earlier this year, a team from the PDBF competed in the IDBF world championships without approval from the Philippine Olympic Committee, which recognizes the PCKF as the only official dragon boat organization.
Media releases from the POC this weekend pointed out that the PCKF 12-man team clocked in at 4:41:08 in the 1000-meter race, some 16 seconds faster than the time recorded by the PDBF in the world competition. The same releases also said that Myanmar and Indonesia, which finished ahead of the Philippines in the SEA Games races, are “arguably the two best teams in the world.”
Myanmar won the gold in the event in its last SEA Games staging in 2007, with the Philippine team, still organized by the PDBF, finishing with a silver.
“PCKF is just too happy that we finally had the opportunity to show our countrymen the true worth of this Philippine team,” Go said. “I think we have clearly proved a point.”