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Rower Cris Nievarez earns spot at Tokyo Summer Olympics

MAKE it eight Filipino athletes now representing the country in the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

This, after national rowing team member Cris Nievarez earned a spot in the rescheduled Games where he will be competing in the men’s single sculls.

The welcome news was announced by the Philippine Rowing Association (PRA) on Monday after getting official communication from the World Rowing Federation.

“We are happy to share that the Philippine Rowing Association received confirmation from World Rowing that we have qualified for the Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Congratulations, Cris!” wrote the PRA on its official Facebook page.

It will mark the first time in 21 years that Philippine rowing will be represented in the Olympic Games.

Benjamin Tolentino, who also competed in the men’s single sculls event, was the last one who represented the Philippines in the sport at the 2020 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Mr. Nievarez, 21, a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in 2019, joined pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz as Filipino athletes who have qualified for Tokyo so far.

The now-Olympic bound rower recently competed in the 2021 World Rowing Asia Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta in Tokyo.

He placed ninth overall in the tournament, but still found himself in the running for an Olympic spot with other events considered as well.

Meanwhile, upon hearing the news, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William extended his congratulation to Mr. Nievarez and the rest of the Philippine rowing team.

“I know that Cris and the entire rowing team worked hard for this. It is well-deserved. The PSC will keep supporting him as much as we can on this quest,” said Mr. Ramirez.

Also expressing praise and extended support was the MVP Sports Foundation, Inc. (MVPSF), which is a sponsor of Mr. Nievarez and PRA.

“The next step now is to help our Olympian and his coaches prepare the best way they can…” said MVPSF President Al Panlilio in a statement. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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