The Philippine Rowing Team left early yesterday morning for the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Looking at the picture made me think of the team’s journey to earn slots at the SEA Games. It was not an easy feat considering the stringent criteria the Philippine SEA Games Task Force has in place in selecting athletes that will compete in the biennial event.
Seeing this photo reminded me that every competition is just a culmination of months and years of grueling training every national athlete has to go through. That each one leaves for a competition filled with determination to do whatever it takes to win for the country. And that every athlete, every team has a story of sacrifices and indomitable will to overcome challenges in pursuit of their sporting dreams.
Just this morning, Coach Ed shared that 3 of the team’s sweep oars broke in transit. This is heartbreaking news. I could just imagine the effect it has on the athletes. But I trust our rowers, who are professional and seasoned enough, to overcome yet another challenge in their bid at the SEAG.
Coach Ed said they already informed the rowing organizing committee and asked to borrow oars for the team to use.
On the upside, it was the kind of damage that is much better than undetected cracks or problems that may cause breakage during a race. At least the team still have a few days to train with the borrowed oars they will be using for the competition.
The oars were the only equipment the team brought with them. Unlike other teams that have the budget to ship their own racing shells, our rowers usually compete on rented rowing boats. This year, they have done so again. And managed to win in regional championships that helped them get their respective slots in the Myanmar SEA Games.
This is a team I am proud of. And I wish them and all the other Philippine athletes who will compete in Myanmar all the best.