Cris Nievarez, a Filipino rower, advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s single sculls on Friday, kicking off the country’s 2020 Summer Olympics campaign in style.
The best three finishers in each heat advanced to the next round, and Nievarez finished third in Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo.
The Atimonan, Quezon native finished third in seven minutes, 22.97 seconds, behind leader Croatian Damir Martin with seven minutes and 9.17 seconds and runner-up Russian Federation’s Alexander Vyazovkin with seven minutes and 14.95 seconds.
Felix Potoy of Nicaragua clocked in seven minutes and 32.54 seconds while Privel Hinkati Hinkati had a time of seven minutes and 40.87 seconds.
The quarterfinals are set Monday, July 26, 2021.
Nievarez, 21, is the first Filipino to compete in an Olympic rowing event since Benjamin Tolentino in Sydney in 2000.
The Philippines is aiming for its first Olympic gold medal.
Nievarez’s campaign began well ahead of the ceremonial opening ceremonies, which are scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Team Philippines is composed of boxers Irish Magno, Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, and Nesthy Petecio; golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Juvic Pagunsan; swimmers Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule; weightlifters Elreen Ando and Hidilyn Diaz; gymnast Carlos Yulo; judoka Kiyomi Watanabe; pole-vaulter EJ Obiena; shooter Julius Valdez; skateboarder Marigielyn Didal; sprinter Kristina Knott; and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa.