MANILA, July 26 (PNA) — The 22-member Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team, considered as one of the fastest dragon boat crews in the world, will be decorated with the Military Merit Medal on Monday for winning the gold medal at the Japan Dragon Boat Championship in Osaka, Japan last July 19.
The Army paddlers finished first in the 250-meter Men’s Open Category of the competition.
The awarding ceremony will take place at the PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City at 7:30 a.m.
Lt. Gen. Eduardo M. Año, PA chief, will confer the Military Merit Medal during the flag-raising ceremony to the team which is composed of 20 paddlers, one steersman, and one drummer.
“Truly another world-class performance that has once again inspired the 85,000-strong Army. Our Dragon Boat Team displayed dedication and commitment to excellence, and exhibited discipline and teamwork, qualities that are worth emulating and which the Philippine Army is proud of,” Año said.
In line with the vision of the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR), the PA continues to pursue sports development, which prepares and equips soldier-athletes to become world-class.
The Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team was founded in 2009 and was first composed of Army soldiers who came from other field of sports.
Staff Sgt. Usman Anterola, the head coach, has steered the team into many championships, both local and international. He has been racing for 17 years now.
Instrumental to their success are the arduous training, expert coaching and guidance, the commitment and discipline of each of the paddlers, and the support from the people.
To stay in shape, the team trains year-round, from paddling to exercise at the gym.
They also do pool training twice a week at the Philippine Army Wellness Center to help perfect paddling techniques.
Vigorous regiment of core and aerobic exercise, free weights and running are also included in their training program.
Meanwhile, Año will officially don the new ranks to Major Gen. Gerardo F. Barrientos Jr. and Brig. Gen. Alan R. Arrojado.
Barrientos is the commander of the 1st Infantry Division.
Prior to this, he was the chief of the Office of Ethical Standard and Public Accountability (OESPA), 4th Infantry Division.
He also served as assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry Division.
He also commanded the 102nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 72nd Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983.
Arrojado is the commander of the 501st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division.
He also commanded the 602nd Brigade, 6th Infantry Division, and served as group commander of the 10th Regional Community Defense Group, Army Reserve Command, and commanding officer of the 35th Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Division.
He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1984. (PNA)