Philippine rowing clung onto their last hope in Cris Nievarez, and its perseverance has paid off.
Nievarez secured a Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth on Monday, May 10, by virtue of continental qualification regattas, where 5 national Olympic committees (NOCs) will be awarded a slot in the quadrennial meet.
The 20-year-old rower became the first Filipino rower to qualify for the Olympics since Benjie Tolentino in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
World Rowing confirmed that Nievarez qualified for the men’s single sculls (M1x) despite the Philippines ranking 9th in the qualification system.
India, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam have qualified in other events through the 2021 Asia Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta staged in Tokyo, Japan last May 6 to 7, while Hong Kong and Indonesia secured berths by ranking higher in other events.
A country is entitled to join only one rowing event in the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist wound up 5th overall in the qualifying event after falling short of a finals berth in the 12-man M1x event.
Nievarez is the 8th Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He joins pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, weighlifter Hidilyn Diaz and boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam. – Rappler.com