All Five Filipino rowers will vie for another chance at a place in the next rounds after the morning heats at the 2021 Asia Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Rowing Qualification Regatta, Thursday at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan.
Southeast Asian Games champion Cris Nievarez could not maintain his pace and had to settle for fourth place in the first heat of the men’s singles sculls.
The Filipino went toe-to-toe at the early stages with eventual heat winner Mekhrojbek Mamatkulov of Uzbekistan before the latter pulled away. Hong Kong’s Chi Fung Chan and Iraq’s Mohammed Al-Khafaji registered the two fastest times in the 1000m and 1500m points of the race to overtake Nievarez for the other two outright places in the semifinals.
Roque Abala Jr. and Zuriel Sumintac also had to settle for fourth place in the first heat of the men’s lightweight double sculls.
The Filipino pair had to climb their way up as they brought up the rear for most of the race. In the end, the tandems from Japan and India were too far to reach, and even the Uzbek duo of Shakhboz Kholmurzaev and Sobirjon Safaroliyev was way out in third place.
Nonetheless, only two teams will advance into the Final A, and leave the Uzbeks, the Filipinos, and the pair from Thailand into the repechage.
The other SEAG champion in the duo of Jen Caballero and Joanie Delgaco ended in third place in the second heat of the women’s lightweight double sculls race and had to likewise go into the repechage.
Racing second almost the entire race to eventual sole outright finalists Zeinab Norouzi Tazeh Kand and Kimia Zarei of Iran, the Filipino champions started off too quickly. Indonesians Mutiara Rahma Putri and Melani Putri took advantage of then took advantage of the Filipinos’ decelerating pace in the middle parts of the race to eventually took second place ahead of the latter.
Nievarez will try to finish in the top three of the repechage later today at 1:00 p.m. (Manila time) to advance into the semifinals.
Abala Jr. and Sumintac will follow at 1:20 p.m. and they need to finish first or second to advance to the A Final.
Caballero and Delgaco will close out Team Philippines’ day as they go for a top-two finish in the first heat of the repechage at 1:30 p.m. for a place in the A Final.
The semifinals and finals of the men’s single sculls and the finals of the men’s and women’s lightweight double sculls are all scheduled on Friday.