There were 24 participants in the event but for a 21-year-old seeing action in his first Olympics, the future looks bright for Nievarez.
“Cris’s journey as a world-class rower just started in Tokyo,” Philippines Rowing Association president Patrick “Pato” Gregorio said from Manila. “He has a long way to go—still young at 21.”
Nievarez submitted a time of seven minutes and 21.28 seconds to land fifth in the event’s Final D of the classification round. Those numbers were faster than the 7:22.97 he registered in the preliminary round that qualified him for the quarterfinals last July 23.
Greece’s Stefanos Nyouskos was timed 6:40.45, an Olympic best time, to win the gold medal. Norway’s Kjetil Borch (6:41.66) clinched silver and Croatia’s Damir Martin (6:42.58) bagged bronze in the event where Nievarez was one of the shortest participants but the only Southeast Asian rower.
“It took Hidilyn [Diaz] four Olympic cycles to win the gold medal, she never gave up,” he said. “So Cris, don’t give up. He is top 23 in the Olympics. It’s a great way to start.”
Gregorio thanked the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MVP Sports Foundation, Maynilad and Smart for supporting Nievarez’s campaign.
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