THE first Davao City Dragon Boat Festival 3rd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge 2014 will get underway on May 1 to 4 at the Davao River.

Philippine Dragonboat Federation (PDBF) Davao area head retired Major General Charly Holganza, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao, said it will be the first time for Mindanao, particularly Davao City, to host a festive international dragon boat competition.

“This is the advocacy of PDBF to spread the gospel of dragon boating in Mindanao and to let the people know that Mindanao, especially Davao City, is safe and a good venue for tourism. This will erase the myth that Mindanao is dangerous,” Holganza said.

He said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte instructed Sports Development Division officer-in-charge William "Butch" Ramirez and City Tourism Office OIC Lisette Marquez to immediately prepare the groundwork by studying the best practices and templates to successfully host the event.

Traditional contenders such as Lake Buhi, Army, Triton, and the Coastguard teams based in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are expected to join along with visiting teams from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, and Singapore.

Holganza said Filipinos are well-respected in the sport of dragon boating, saying, "We really excel in dragon boating and until now, the country holds the world record in the 200 meters standard premiere open category with a time of 40.02 seconds and the 200m standard premiere mixed category with a time of 43.50 seconds.”

He said a total of 700 athletes are expected to compete in the 3rd Cobra-PDF International Club Crew Challenge 2014 for the open female, open male and mixed categories. The race is set at 200m, 500m and two kilometers.

A cash prize of P 30,000 awaits the champion while the second and third placers will settle for P 20,000 and P 10,000, respectively.

He said that PDBF, together with the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) and the SDD-CMO, has started preparing for the event since last year.

Holganza urged volunteers to help in different committees - accommodations and transportation, media, training and competition, safety and security, events and logistics.

For more information, contact Holganza at mobile number (0917) 704-1956 or Ronnel Abrenica or Charles Maxey of SDD-CMO at (082) 221-2266.

The competition is part of the PDBF’s grassroots development initiatives in a bid to discover new talents in the countryside.

Bohol hosted the event last year.