Cris Nievarez, the first Filipino athlete to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, ended his bid for a medal after placing fifth in the men’s single sculls quarterfinals on July 25, 2021. Although Nievarez won’t be taking home any medals this year, he still made history as the first Filipino rower to make it this far in the Olympics.
Philippine Rowing Association (PRA) President Patrick “Pato” Gregorio said that the 21-year-old athlete showed a commendable performance during his first Olympics stint.
“His performance is beyond expectations. Commendable,” he said. “Focused training here and abroad, Cris will really improve.”
Nievarez finished the race after 7 minutes and 50.74 seconds, while round winner Oliver Ziedler from Germany finished after 7 minutes and 12.75 seconds.
Luca Verthein Ferreira from Brazil placed second with 7 minutes and 14.26 seconds; Mindaugas Griskonis from Lithuania placed third with 7 minutes and 16.71 seconds; Jordan Parry from New Zealand placed fourth with 7 minutes and 18.48 seconds; Mohammed Al Khafaji from Iraq placed sixth with 8 minutes and 03.55 seconds.
Eyes on Paris
Nievarez said that his first time at the Olympics gave him valuable experience which will help him prepare for future competitions. He’s determined to represent the Philippines again in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
“Malaking bagay ang experience na nakuha ko rito sa Tokyo Olympics. Malaking dahilan ito para pagbutihin ko pa at asamin na makarating ako sa Paris,” he said. “Nakita ko na rin ang mga strength ng mga kalaban at alam ko na kung anong aspects ang kailangang i-improve.”
The young Filipino rower will still compete in the semifinal C bracket for his final ranking at the Sea Forest Waterway on July 27, 2021.