Rowing chief preaches optimism after Nievarez's Tokyo Olympics performance

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Rowing chief preaches optimism after Nievarez's Tokyo Olympics performance
Cris Nievarez
Facebook / Cris Nievarez

MANILA, Philippines — Optimism is surrounding Philippine rower Cris Nievarez after his Olympics debut in Tokyo.

Though only 21, Nievarez made history as the best performing rower in Philipppine history at the Olympics, qualifying for the quarterfinals then finishing 23rd place out of 32 participants at his final race on Friday.

TRACKER: Team Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics

For Philippines Rowing Association President Patrick Gregorio, Nievarez's promising career is only beginning.

"Cris's journey as a world-class rower just started in Tokyo," said Gregorio.

"He has a long way to go — still young at 21," he added.

Things only seemed to get better for Nievarez after he qualified for the quarterfinals last week, constantly posting faster times as the races go by.

In Final D of the classification round, he posted 7:21.28 — which was a good second than the 7:22.97 he registered in his first race that qualified him for the quarterfinal.

This was also faster than the last rower who competed in the Olympics, Benjamin Tolentino in 2000, who timed in at 7:22.31.

For Gregorio, it's a good sign. And Nievarez, along with the Rowing Association, just needs to be patient.

"It took Hidilyn [Diaz] four Olympic cycles to win the gold medal, she never gave up. So Cris, don't give up," said Gregorio.

"He is top 23 in the Olympics. It's a great way to start," he added.



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