A lady rower and an Olympian provided the spark needed by Team Philippines in hauling six silver and two bronze medals in the 2022 Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships held over the weekend.
Kristine Paraon came through with a pair of runner-up finishes in the women’s U23 2000m and 500m to bag two silver medals, even as veteran Olympian Cris Nievarez bagged the silver in the men’s Under-23 (U23) 2000-meter race with a time of six minutes and 25.9 seconds.
Nievarez was just a few ticks behind gold winner Wong Ho Yin of Hong Kong (6:19.6), while Wong Wai Chun, also of HK, placed third with a 6:28.3 clocking.
Also taking silver medals were Zuriel Sumintac in the men’s lightweight 500m, Joachim de Jesus (U23 lightweight men 500m), and Alyssa Go (U23 lightweight women 500m), while Christian Joseph Jasmin and Kharl Julianne Sha got a bronze medal each in the men and women’s Under-23 500m, respectively.
Philippine Rowing Association president Patrick Gregorio was elated with the performance of his athletes and vowed to produce more outstanding rowers in their bid to qualify anew for the next Olympics in Paris.
“We are so happy with the performance of our athletes and they will continue to improve, especially our young rowers,” said Gregorio.
“We will work hard and even double our efforts for our rowers to improve in order for us to be ready for major tournaments like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics,” added Gregorio.
A total of 788 entries from 17 Asian countries competed in the online tournament organized by the Asian Rowing Association and hosted by the Hong Kong China Rowing Association.
Rowing was among a handful of National Sports Associations from the Philippines that sent athletes to the last year’s Tokyo Olympics, where the 21-year-old Nievarez competed.
Nievarez placed 23rd overall out of 32 participants in the men’s single sculls event of the Tokyo games rowing competition.
The 2022 Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor tourney was one of the sanctioned events for qualification to the World Rowing Indoor Championships set on Feb. 25 and 26, 2002.
The top 3 for each race category may qualify for the said World Rowing Indoor Championships (pending verification of their scores), which was initially supposed to be an in-person event in Hamburg, Germany. But it has been announced it will go fully virtual because of the surge of COVID-19 cases around the world.