Resources, gov’t support crucial in promoting water sports

An official of a Hong Kong-based association of dragon boat sport on Sunday said adequate resources and support from the community can play a vital role in strengthening water sports, including dragon boat.

Edwin Hou, vice chairperson of Stanley Dragon Boat Association, said Filipinos in general have showed exceptional talents in dragon boat, which could be an advantage in this city because of Cagayan River.

"Resources and experience are still needed, that's why we are helping (Cagayan de Oro organizers) by sharing our experience," he said.

Hou was in the city, along with five others from Hong Kong, to help officiate the 2nd Spring Festival Dragon Boat Race, organized by Dragon Boat Kagay-an (DBK), which was part of the side event in the celebration of Chinese New Year by the Filipino-Chinese community here.

Hou also trained Filipinos from Visayas and Mindanao for a four-day dragon boat officiating course.

Tourism potential

Pinky Castillo, president of Bugsay Pilipinas, said organizing dragon boat races are always attractive to local tourism as it encourages different teams across the country and overseas.

"Sports tourism is a growing industry, hopefully, the Department of Tourism (DoT) and the local government will support this endeavor," she said.

Castillo has been closely working with John Asuncion, president of DBK, since its conception and the development of local athletes. She also organized dragon boat races in the country.

Last year, the local government of Surigao City had an international-level racing event, which was participated in by local and Chinese teams. The event saw a potential by the DoT to position the city and Surigao del Norte as a sports-tourism hub.

Castillo said it is possible a similar event could happen in Northern Mindanao region.

During the opening ceremonies the city's local tourism council, headed by Dotty Pabayo and DoT Region 10 director May Unchuan joined to show support for the event.

There were at least 13 teams from Visayas and Mindanao that participated in the race in three major categories.

Cantilan Red Dragons from Cantilan, Surigao del Sur dominated most of the 200-meter and 500-meter races. This is the same team that won gold medals last year against international teams in a race organized in China.

Source: Philippines News Agency