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2020 Tokyo Olympics

Cris Nievarez vows to not waste any time in build-up to Tokyo

Work doesn’t stop for rower Cris Nievarez now that he’s heading for the Tokyo Olympics.

The next two months will be a busy one for the 21-year-old Filipino. He will not focus on training and preparing himself for the so-called ‘Greatest Show on Earth.’

Nievarez, along with Uzbekistan coach Shukhrat Ganiev and Ed Mirena, needs to lay down their game plan ASAP. The World Rowing Federation only notified him of his qualification to the Olympiad early Monday morning.

“’Yung goal talaga ng Philippine rowing ay ma-represent ‘yung sagwan namin sa mataas na kumpetisyon tulad ng Olympics at ‘yung watawat din ng Pilipinas.

“Susubukan ko na maibigay lahat ng best dito pa lang sa Pilipinas sa bawat training na ma-improve ‘yung time, hanggang sa makadikit doon sa malalakas na countries. May two months na preparation pa naman so kaya pa,” said the country’s newest Olympian upon guesting in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum online edition on Tuesday.

Nievarez, a grade 12 student at the Commonwealth High School, became the first Filipino paddler to clinch an Olympic berth in the last 21 years — or since towering Benjie Tolentino represented the country during the 2000 Sydney Games.

As rowing’s lone Olympic entry after qualifying in the men’s single sculls, Patrick Gregorio, president of the Philippine Rowing Association (PRA), vowed to give the all-out support needed by Nievarez in his preparation for the Tokyo Games.

“Lahat ng puwedeng maibigay na pagkakataon na additional training kay Cris ay ibibigay natin,” said Gregorio, who joined the Filipino Olympian in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

“Lalo na at isa lang si Cris na nag-qualify, so hindi mahirap kumuha ng suporta at sponsors para bigyan si Cris ng exposure.”

Unfortunately, the current quarantine protocols in the country could interfere with Nievarez’s planned overseas training as part of his Olympic preparation.

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Competing in a pre-Olympic tournament means the Filipino would have to undergo a 10 or 14-day quarantine period upon his return to the country. Nievarez will have to spend the next two weeks without the benefit of training.

“Kaya ‘yan ang kailangan nating i-balanse, ‘yung health protocols kapag bumalik ang isang atleta galing sa isang laban dahil nagpe-peak siya. So kailangan mabigyan ng ensayo si Cris even during quarantine,” added Gregorio in the Forum powered by Smart and Upstream Media as official webcast partner.

Good thing, Nievarez already had a peek of what to expect during the Olympics. Rowing will be held at the Sea Forest Waterway, the same site where he competed along with the rest of the national team during the Asia Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta last week.

“Ang maganda kasi nakapa ko na ‘yung klase ng tubig sa Japan. Doon din kasi gagawin ‘yung Olympics so may idea na ako kung ano ang dapat kong palakasin,” said Nievarez, adding he needs to improve on his muscle strength and endurance for the Olympiad.

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