Cris Nievarez is the lone representative of the Philippine Rowing Association at the Tokyo Olympics.
He is the third Filipino rower to make it to the quadrennial Games, behind his coach Edgardo Maerina and Benjie Tolentino, who qualified in the Olympics back in 1988 and 2000 respectively.
In the 30th SEA Games in 2019, he struck gold in the men’s lightweight single sculls event after a time of 7min 34.27sec.
Nievarez booked his Olympic slot after placing ninth in the 2021 World Rowing Asia Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta. Only five slots were up for grabs, but the eventual fourth- to eight-placed rowers were already Tokyo-bound, and Nievarez got the final slot.
At the age of 21, he is among the youngest Philippine delegates who will compete in the Olympiad.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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