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Nievarez last man rowing for PH crew

Cris Nievarez, the reigning Southeast Asian Games lightweight single sculls champion, refused to be cowed by the strong winds and stayed the course on Thursday in his pursuit to gain a spot in the coming Tokyo Olympics.

Nievarez convincingly ruled the men’s single sculls repechage, finishing nearly five boats ahead of his closest competitor to advance to the semifinals of the World Rowing Asia Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta in Tokyo, Japan.

“I had a good performance, but I found it really challenging to win due to the strong winds,’’ said the 21-year-old ace from Atimonan, Quezon, after clocking eight minutes and 11.40 seconds for 2,000 meters at Sea Forest Waterway.

Chanin Sinsomboon of Thailand was second with Ali Buojallouf of Qatar third.

Nievarez needs a top three in the semis for a seat in the medal race where finishing in the top five out of six finalists would mean an Olympics slot.Nievarez’ repechage time, though, ranks seventh in the field.

Melcah Caballero and Joanie Delgaco finished third in the lightweight women’s double sculls and joined the tandem of Zuriel Sumintac and Roque Abala Jr. in bowing out.

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