Philippine canoe-kayak team crowned overall champ in Asian Cup

Philippine canoe-kayak team crowned overall champ in Asian Cup
The tandem of Lealyn Baligasa and Kimly Adie Balboa

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine canoe-kayak team claimed the overall championship in runaway fashion, winning 21 medals — including 10 golds — in the Asian Cup Canoe Championship over the weekend at the Shing Mun River, Shatin in Hong Kong.

The tandem of Lealyn Baligasa and Kimly Adie Balboa sparked the Filipinos’ impressive run. But it was Joanna Barca who shone brightest among the 10-man Philippine crew, capturing three individual event golds in the three-day competition hosted by the Hong Kong China Canoe Union.

Barca, the pride of Palo, Leyte, captured the women U23 C1 500-meter, 200-meter and 23km marathon events to become the only triple gold medalist in the competition. She was awarded the Most Outstanding Athlete.

The 19-year-old Barca finished the 500m race two minutes and 44.63 seconds before capturing the 200m in one minute and 7.83 seconds, beating both her rivals from the General Association of Macau Canoeing. She completed a sweep on her event, topping the marathon 23km event where she clocked 2:47.10.

Baligasa, 22, from Tubalan, Malita Davao Occidental, and Balboa, 18, from San Miguel, Leyte started the Filipinos’ impressive run as they dominated the first event at stake (1,000m), clocking five minutes and 31.83 seconds against the pair of host team.

They missed their second gold attempt, finishing second to Taipei duo (2:11.29) in the Open K2-500m with a time of 2:29.46, ahead of Hong Long (3:35.29).

“We’re very proud and happy with the team’s campaign. We have a young and skilled team. Kailangan nila ang exposure na tulad nito, kaya doble ang pasalamat naming sa Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee at s amga private friends naming na sumusuporta at tumutulong sa amin,” said Philippine Canoe-Kayak and Dragonboat Federation (PCKDF) president Leonora ‘Len’ Escollante.

Last week in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the PCKDF paddlers dominated and claimed the overall title with four gold medals in the International Dragon Boat Championships.

The other gold medalists are veteran Southeast Asian Games campaigner Ojay Fuentes in the men’s Open C1 500m (2:14.87) and Open C1 200m (48.81); Janus Ercilla in the Men’s U23 C1 23km (2:23.51); Lealyn Baligasa in the women’s U23 K1 23 km (2:25.31); John Paul Selencio in the men’s Open C1 23km (2:16.18), and Jobert Penaranda in the Men’s U23 K1 Marathon 18.4km (1:40.55).

Among the silver medal winners are Neljohn Fabro (U23 Ci 23km, 2:31.24); Kimly Adie Balboa (U23 K1 23km, 2:32.02), Ojay Fuentes (Open C1 23 km, 2:19.09); Carla Joy Cabugon (U23 K1 500m, 2:33.78, U23 K1 200m, 56.22 and U23 marathon 18.4km, 1:57.04)); and Janus Ercilla (U23 C1 500m, 2:15.67 and 200m, 43.90), while Ercilla added a bronze in U23 K1 marathon finishing at 1:43.29, as well as Jobert Penaranda in the Men’s U23 K1 1000-meter (5:00.64).

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