PH rowers all geared up for OQT

Published April 19, 2021, 3:10 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

The Philippine rowing team will vie for three berths to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics when they compete in the Asia Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta on May 5 to 7 in Tokyo, Japan.

Melcah Jen Caballero and Joanie Delgaco hope their golden success as a pair at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games will translate into the qualifiers when they compete in one of the three slots at stake in the lightweight women’s double sculls.

The same also holds for Cris Nievarez, a 2019 SEAG gold medalist, when he competes for one of the five tickets in the men’s single sculls.

Roque Abala Jr. and Zuriel Sumintac’s tandem will be also put to test when they battle for one of the three seats in the lightweight men’s double sculls.

Abala won bronze with Edgar Ilas in the same event at the 2019 SEAG that the country hosted.

The small contingent has been making the most out of their time and resources preparing for the meet, where they hope to make an impact by qualifying to the Summer Games scheduled July 23 to Aug. 8.

They have been combining indoor and outdoor training at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City due to restrictions brought by the pandemic, hoping that these are enough since they have been sidelined with actual tournaments since the SEAG.

Some athletes like Caballero, however, participated in the World Indoor Rowing Championships last February that served as her training ground for the Olympic qualifying.

Tournament organizers have already provided information bulletin on their website for participants on what to expect in the event particularly health and safety protocols like training days allowed prior to race day.

At the moment, there is a rise in active cases in Tokyo but organizers remain optimistic to push through with the race.

Benjie Tolentino is the last rower to qualify to the Olympics when he competed in the 2000 Sydney edition.