Dragonboat: Singapore's women paddlers clinch historic bronze medal at World Championships

   The result came as a pleasant surprise for the team as they had set themselves a target of qualifying for the grand finals and finishing in the top six.
The result came as a pleasant surprise for the team as they had set themselves a target of qualifying for the grand finals and finishing in the top six.PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FEDERATION

SINGAPORE - It was a historic weekend for Singapore's women's dragonboat team who clinched their first-ever medal at the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.

They were third in the premier women's 200-metre event last Saturday (Aug 24). The championships were organised by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF).

The result came as a pleasant surprise for the team as they had set themselves a target of qualifying for the grand finals and finishing in the top six.

Their time of 55.464 seconds put them behind Thailand (52.105) and China (52.217).

High performance manager Chia Yi Liang said: "This result gave the team a new lease of faith and belief. It validated the current training plans and showed us that we are heading in the right direction."

With this result, the team are hoping to get the nod from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) to compete at the Nov 30-Dec 11 SEA Games in the women's four-crew small boat event.

The Singapore Dragon Boat Association (SDBA) had sent an appeal to the SNOC in hopes that the men's 12-crew and four-crew racing and mixed racing teams will be included in the Games in the Philippines.

SDBA general manager Raizal Abdol Jalil said: "It is every national athlete's dream to represent our nation in every competition possible, especially Olympic-standard multi-sport events.

"The SEA Games is a regional multi-sport event, which is a mere two levels down from the Olympics, where dragon boat is not featured.

"The culture and history of dragon boat or traditional dragon boat in the South-east Asian region means that the strongest teams are right on our doorstep, so the challenge posed by SEA Games is great."

The Junior A team, represented by National Junior College, also shone in Thailand, bringing home three medals from their events. They stunned hosts Thailand to clinch the gold medal in the Junior A women small boat 200m and added two silver medals to their haul in the 2,000m last Wednesday and 500m events.