Eleven teams from different parts of the world came together to compete on the recently concluded 1st International Paoay Regatta . Athletes from countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and the Philippines rowed their way to the finish line to claim the title of this prestigious rowing event.
Initiated and organized by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte and the Manila Boat Club, the Paoay Lake served as the backdrop of the 71st Amateur Rowing Association of the East (ARAE) - Far East Amateur Rowing Association (FEARA) Regatta. This is the first time the Philippines hosted this kind of event and the organizers hope that this wouldn’t be the last.
The week-long sporting event started last January 13, 2012 with the rowers spending the first few days practicing and eliminations. Last January 19, the event was culminated on a festive atmosphere with Ilocanos, top officials and sports enthusiasts gracing the event. The finals were watched with gritted teeth and excitement while waiting for the final races of the day.
After an intense race in the men’s division, the CME Rowers Club from Pune India won the Hooghly Cup in the 1st International Paoay Regatta beating the team from Madras Boat Club by only 2 points. Runner-up winners were the Lake Club Kolta, Colombo Rowing Club, Karachi Boat Club and first-timers Easter Rowing Club from Singapore garnered a respectable 8 points.
The Adyar Cup, or the women’s division, was won by Madras with a 28-point finish beating CME and Karachi.
Our own team, the Manila Boat Club had an edge against its competitors in the Super Masters with 20 points. But Bengal finished with 22 points, taking the VC Bath International trophy.
Local students were also given the opportunity by the Manila Boat Club to participate in the event. Selected students from the Don Mariano Marcos State University and Northwestern University of Laoag were given a one-week training by national coaches for free. With continuous training, the newly formed teams can compete in future international rowing events.
Collin Smith, the co-director of the Manila Boat Club, said that the Paoay Lake is a perfect venue for this kind of sporting event. The clean, calm and vast lake is at par with Olympic venues for Olympic style Rowing.
Rowing is an eco-friendly water sport, with rowing boats only powered by the sheer force of the athletes. It helps promote sustainable clean waters and a love for the water and the natural beauty of nature.
This early, there are already talks of various sporting events to be held in Paoay Lake. The organizers hope that this will be a start for the discovery and appreciation of this natural wonder that can help boost tourism and the local economy.
With reports from ABS-CBN Laoag April Rafales and Grace Alba
Photos: Renzelle Ann Palma
Special thanks to the Manila Boat Club and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte for inviting us in the 1st International Paoay Regatta.