Philippine Olympic Committee

Cris Nievarez kicks off PH Tokyo Olympics bid with quarters berth

Beatrice Go

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Cris Nievarez kicks off PH Tokyo Olympics bid with quarters berth

20 YEARS. Cris Nievarez becomes the first Filipino rower since Benjie Tolentino to represent the Philippines in the Olympics.

Asics Philippines

The Philippines' Tokyo Olympics campaign gets off to a good start thanks to Cris Nievarez

Cris Nievarez opened Philippines’ Olympic campaign with a quarterfinal-berth clinching performance on Friday morning, July 23, at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan.

The lone Philippine rower in the delayed quadrennial meet clocked 7 minutes and 22.97 seconds for a third place finish in heat 5 of the men’s single sculls.

Croatia’s Damir Martin led the way with a time of 7:09.17 while Russia’s Alexander Vyazovkin finished with a time of 7:14.95.

Only the top three in the heat earned outright berths in the quarterfinals.

Masarap sa pakiramdam, unang race, unang sabak, masaya, para ito sa Pilipinas (It was a good feeling – being on the first race, on the first day, it’s fun. This is for the Philippines),” said Nievarez. 

The first-time Olympian was the only Southeast Asian qualifier in men’s singles sculls and one of only two Asians left after the preliminaries, the other one being Ryuta Arakawa, who placed second in the final heat.

Nievarez, 21, secured a Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth by virtue of continental qualification regattas, where five national Olympic committees (NOCs) were awarded slots in the quadrennial meet.


[PODCAST] Targeting Tokyo: Cris Nievarez

[PODCAST] Targeting Tokyo: Cris Nievarez

The lean 5-foot-11 native of Atimonan, Quezon, Nievarez became the first Filipino rower in 20 years to qualify for the Olympics since sport legend Benjie Tolentino. –

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.