Promising paddlers Ojay Fuentes and Raymart Nevado led the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Federation (PCKF) to a one-gold, two-silver medal haul in the 2014 Southeast Asian Canoe Junior Championships held in Singapore.
The 16-year old Fuentes topped the boys’ 200-meter canoe single in 46.54 seconds, beating his rivals from host Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam.
He also broke the 47.85-second national record he also registered in the 2014 Philippine National Games in May.
Fuentes continued his impressive run as he secured a silver in the 500m single event in two minutes and 10.32 seconds.
Fellow national mainstay Raymart Nevado added one silver in the boys’ 1,000m single category.
“These are the future of our national team. At the very young age, they’re now performing well especially against senior counterparts,” national canoe-kayak head coach Len Escollante told The Manila Times.
She was referring to Fuentes’ three-bronze medal showing in the 2014 Southeast Asian Canoe Sprint Championships also held recently in Singapore.
Fuentes teamed up with Hermie Macaranas in winning the 200m double and 500m double bronzes. He also pocketed bronze in the 200m single event.
“That’s why the Philippine Olympic Committee has included him in the Olympic Solidarity Program. His event is an Olympic event and we are hoping that he’ll qualify in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil come 2016,” added Escollante, a member of the national volleyball team that won gold medal in the 1993 Singapore Southeast Asian Games.
PCKF President Jonee Go is planning to send the national team to Hungary to undergo a three-month training camp as part of build up for the Southeast Asian Games and the Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled next year.
“We are really aiming to improve our showing in the Southeast Asian Games and of course we want a Filipino paddler in the Olympics. It’s our main goal and we’re happy that the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission are helping us in achieving our target,” ended Escollante.