MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives is brokering “unity talks” between the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation and the Philippine Canoe/Kayak Federation in a meeting also attended by top officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.
POC deputy secretary general Mark Joseph said on Thursday that the POC and the PSC would “guide the PCKF in the selection of PDBF members so that the best paddlers in the country can be selected for the Southeast Asian Games.”
The Cobra PDBF paddlers stormed to national consciousness after bringing home five gold and two silver medals from the world championship in Tampa, Florida, recently. As a reward, the congressmen have agreed to donate P5,000 each to the PDBF squad.
But while the PDBF agreed to the meeting to be held next week, officials said they would still invoke their right to be a separate national sports association.
“In the IOC (International Olympic Committee) we are under canoe/kayak, but in the Olympic Council of Asia and Sports Accord, we are a separate sport and not just a discipline,” said head coach and technical head Nestor Ilagan.
He added that the International Dragon Boat Federation is in the process of obtaining IOC recognition after mustering more than the required 75 member countries and territories during the IDBF Congress in Florida.
The Southeast Asian Traditional Boat Association, which according to Ilagan recognizes the PDBF, will run the dragon boat races in the SEA Games in November.
The POC granted PDBF NSA status with voting power in 2002, but it was placed under the canoe-kayak federation last March “in accordance with IOC and POC decisions.”
Ilagan, however, said the reason behind the relegation of the PDBF was the association’s decision to vote against POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., during the 2004 and 2008 elections.
After the PDBF demotion, 17 of the 23 women paddlers, and seven of the 23 men’s paddlers decided to abide by the POC ruling and went under the PCKF banner.
The PCKF fielded its national team in the POC-PSC National Games in Bacolod but lost to a club team from Boracay. The PDBF team used to train at the waters fronting Manila Ocean Park. After their Florida stint, the paddlers were given free access to train in Subic Freeport.