Butuan team gears up for 1st dragon boat Mindanao challenge

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014


BUTUAN -- Dubbed as Mindanao’s first dragon boat team, students and school staff from Father Saturnino Urios University are gearing up with their daily training here to prepare them for the Mindanao’s first dragon boat competition in Davao City on May 1-4, 2014.

“We’ve gone a long way since we started back in 2012. The experience that we gained last year during the international dragon boat club crew challenge in Panglao, Bohol had been very instrumental in our team’s development. With the intensive training, the team has gained more skills. They are much more polished and the determination to compete against veteran international teams is high,” said Fr. Chito Butardo, vice president FSUU and the team’s founder.

Butardo expressed his enthusiasm through the dragon boat's role on the school’s advocacy on the environment.

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“I can say that the school has embraced and placed its support on the team since it has more to do with our advocacy on the environment, specifically on Agusan river. Through the dragon boating sport, we hope to bring out the issues related to river conservation and its preservation for people to enjoy it in the years to come and hopefully bring attention to the river’s problem,” said Butardo.

Priscilla Pinky Castillo, secretary general of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) who is currently helping out coach the FSUU dragon boat team pointed out the team’s development.

“Only 70 percent of the original team that competed in Bohol last year remained since some had already graduated but the new members have caught up with the rest. The sport helped built character since it is a team sport, so they have to work as one coherent team. The FSUU team is very much capable even in competing on under 23 international competitions including those outside the country, with enough budget for them to travel I’m sure they would be a strong contender,” said Castillo who is also the founder of the Onslaught Racing Dragons.

Castillo added that almost the same time as the FSUU was building up a team, teams from Lake Lanao were also organized.

“We held a dragon boat clinic in Lanao Lake back in 2012 and they even made their own effort in building their boats but they never reached in competing in the dragon boat challenges. The FSUU was the first official team to come out from Mindanao. It’s even more interesting that the first Mindanao team comes from the place where the historic Balangay boats were discovered,” said Castillo.

The dragon boat scene in Butuan City started back in June 2012, when the schools, FSUU, Butuan Doctor’s College and Agusan Colleges started their respective dragon boat teams, unfortunately only the FSUU dragon boat team remained and went on with its training and in joining competitions.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 08, 2014.

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