PUERTO PRINCESA City, Philippines – Over 300 paddlers from different parts of the country have converged in this scenic and orderly capital for the first Puerto Princesa Canoe Kayak and Dragonboat Championships.
The city government has rolled out the red carpet for the competitors who will answer the gun this morning and vie for top honors at the famous Baywalk.
Most of the paddlers came from Manila while the others are from Boracay and Iloilo. A number of local teams are joining the races scheduled all day.
Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron will grace the opener along with Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation president Jonne Go.
Members of the national team are here not to compete but share their expertise to those who are new to the sport where Filipinos have made waves internationally.
A dozen dragonboat teams will see action in the 20-seat men’s crew and mixed crew and the 10-seat women’s crew.
In canoe kayak, events on tap are single kayak, touring doubles, triyak and canoe single.
It’s the first time such event is being held in this premier city of the province of Palawan known as the cleanest and greenest part of the country, and famous for its majestic underground river.
Go, a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee, said it’s the mayor himself who contacted the PCKF in his bid to popularize the sport in the tourist-friendly city.
The PCKF chief also said she’s on the lookout for young and promising paddlers who may earn the chance to represent the country.
Karl Bayron, executive assistant to the mayor, is hands-on in preparing the city’s hosting of the event. He said it’s just the start of the sports development program the city has drawn up.
“We’re hoping to hold bigger races here because we have a very nice course. This will not be the last,” he said, adding that they’re also looking at further promoting the sport of practical shooting in the province.
“Our shoot course here is patterned after world shoot courses,” added Bayron.