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Nievarez leads PH Rowing team to eight-medal haul in Asian Championships

Olympian Cris Nievarez led a six-silver and two-bronze medal haul for Team Pilipinas in the Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships held over the weekend to drumbeat a potential Philippine participation in the World Indoor Championships set late next month.

Nievarez clocked six minutes and 25.90 seconds to bag silver in the men’s under-23 2,000-meter event that lured 15 participants and was won by Hongkong’s Ho Yin Wong.

Showing potential besides the 21-year-old Nievarez was Kristine Paraon, only 19, who clinched silver medals in the eighth-athlete women’s under-23 500-meter and 2,000-meter events.

Also claiming silver medals for the Philippine Rowing Association (PRA) were Zuriel Sumintac in men’s lightweight 500 meters and Ateneo rowers Joachim de Jesus in men’s lightweight under-23 500 meters and Alyssa Go in women’s lightweight under-23 500 meters.

Christian Joseph Jasmin (men’s lightweight 2000 meters) and Kharl Julianne Sha (women’s lightweight under-23 500 meters) provided the bronze medals.

“We are very satisfied with the performance of our rowers that despite the Covid-19 pandemic that limits face-to-face and actual training on the water, they stayed in competitive form,” PRA president Patrick “Pato” Gregorio said.

“We are looking forward to the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi and the Asian Games in Hangzhou later this year, and this is a good start for the team as they gear up for these major international competitions.”

Nineteen rowers—12 men and seven women—took part in the virtual competition that was staged for the second straight year because of the pandemic, according to PRA treasurer Magnum Membrere.

“We are happy and proud of the results,” national team head coach Edgardo Maerina said. “These medals inspire the entire team to work harder this year.”

The Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships were organized by the Asian Rowing Federation and hosted by the Hong Kong China Rowing Association. The competition is one of several sanctioned events for qualification to the World Rowing Indoor Championships originally set in Hamburg, Germany, but was decided to go virtual on February 25 and 26.

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The other members of the team were Karl Julliane Sha, Joanie Delgaco, Amelyn Pagulayan, Athens Greece Tolentino, Van Maxilom, Edgar Ilas, and Ateneo’s Emmanuel Joseph Obaña, as well as coach Con Fornea. Tolentino is the son of Olympian Benjamin Tolentino.

The team competed in a bubble setup from the PRA quarters at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City.

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