Mayor Lani Cayetano honors Taguigeno Dragon boat team members


Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano (third from left) leads the city government in welcoming the eight Taguigeños among twenty-six members of Philippine Dragon Boat Racing Team which won for the Philippines the overall title in the recently concluded 10th World Dragon Boat Racing Championship in Tampa Florida USA. The eight paddlers who are all residents of Taguig are Ruperto Sabijon, Salvador Sumagaysay, Rico Pradilla, Romy John Dionio, Ronald Tan, Joemar Ocquiana, Usman Anterolla, and Ailen Padrones who was absent in Monday’s flag raising ceremony at the city hall grounds. During the ceremony, Mayor Cayetano presented to the athletes the key to the city and a cash incentive worth P50 thousand from the Cayetano family. Also in the photo are (from left) Lower Bicutan Brgy. Captain Ricardo Cruz, Councilor Jojo Eron and Liga ng mga Barangay President Rommel Tanyag (far right). The Cayetano Administration is now scouting for a location where a world class sports facility will be constructed that will cater to Taguigueno athletes.

A sweet, victorious homecoming.

Eight members of the Philippine Dragon Boat team, the same team that dominated the 10th World Dragon Boat Racing Championship by bringing home five gold medals were honored by the City Government of Taguig.

Recognized during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony were Filipino paddlers Ruperto Sabijon, Salvador Sumagaysay, Romy John Dionio, Usman Anterola, Joemar Ocqiana, Ronald Tan, Rico Pradilla, and Ailen Padrones-all residents of Taguig.

Leading the simple ceremony was Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, who handed over a “Key to the City” and P 50,000.00 cash incentive to eight of the 26-member Philippine Dragon Boat team. Residents of the city as well as other employees of the city government gave a warm welcome to the athletes.

In this manner, the Dragon Boat team members became the latest in a glittering list of sports celebrities that have visited Taguig. This list includes Philippine Azkals Phil and James Younghusband, National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Kobe Bryant and city’s own adopted son, boxing champion Nonito Donaire.

“The Filipino paddlers’ near-perfect slate at world championships just proves that they are the best at what they do; it does not matter which organization they belong to. Their accomplishments speak volumes on their skill, character and determination,” Mayor Cayetano said.

According to Ate Lani, the team’s dominance at the world championships in Tampa, Florida, USA earlier this month is further magnified by the fact that it trained independently and was operating on minimal funds.

Out of seven events, the Filipinos won five gold medals and two silver medals-an astounding feat. The team from the Philippines bested its counterparts from Puerto Rico, Australia, Italy and Japan.

Lawyer Darwin Icay, the mayor’s spokesperson, said the Cayetano administration has been actively pursuing local sports development, particularly among the youth.

“Ate Lani is determined to start them off young. That way, the kids reach their full potential on their way to becoming achievers or even heroes in sports,” he said.

Icay noted the city’s recent success in the field of sikaran-arnis as an example. “Team Sikaran Taguig took home the overall championship in the first-ever Sikaran-Arnis Regional Championship Tournament and Demo Team Competition last July 24. The team, which was mostly composed of grade school pupils, took home the most number of trophies during the tournament.”

The Cayetano administration has also prioritized the construction of a “world class sports facility” where local sports competitors from elementary and high school can train and hone their skills.

“This world class sports facility would cater to Taguigeño athletes, thus boosting their confidence to be competitive here and abroad,” Icay said.

Under Mayor Lani, some 240 Physical Education (PE) instructors and teachers from all over the city underwent last summer a two-day football clinic conducted by no less than the Filipino-English Younghusband brothers.

The training program was the Cayetano administration’s way of further spurring local interest in the sport by having the teachers pass-on their newly-acquired football knowledge to their own pupils.

The Younghusbands, who are part of the super-popular Azkals national football team, learned European-style football at Chelsea Football Club in England.

Bryant, on the other hand, led basketball drills members of Gawad Kalinga’s (GK) youth program dubbed “SIGA”. The basketball star also refurbished the Compañero Cayetano covered court in Pinagsama and turned it over to the local GK community.

To top it off, the NBA superstar also gave away basketballs to the children.

Honored in the same way as the dragon boat team members was Donaire, the current WBC and WBO Bantamweight champion. He was adopted “Son of Taguig” even before winning his current titles and was very appreciative of the city government and the rest of the Taguigeños for accepting and feting him.

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