It's all systems go for the Philippine rowing team ahead of its first competition of the year in the 2022 Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships this month.
Leading the pack from Jan. 15 to 22 is Tokyo Olympian Cris Nievarez who will compete in the U-23 men's lightweight 2000-meter and U-23 men's 500m.
The Philippine Rowing Association released its roster for the tournament but coach Edgardo Maerina clarified in an interview during Friday's PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) Hour that a total of 11 rowers -- seven in men's and four in women's -- will take part in the indoor tilt.
"Malaki ang nadagdag sa aming team. Karamihan talaga dito 'yong mga bago at gusto namin sila mabigyan ng magandang exposure (There's a huge difference in our team roster and we want our newcomers to have a good experience and exposure)," said Maerina. "Even virual pero at least magkaroon din sila ng idea to compete sa 2000 meters. Indoor rowing lang ito pero malaking difference (Even though it's a virtual setup, we want them to at least have an idea how to compete in the 2000 meters. This is indoor rowing but it makes a huge difference)."
Maerina added that he is expecting his wards to deliver well since training has been non-stop for the team until a two-week vacation in the holiday season.
Completing the lineup posted by the PRA are Zuriel Sumintac (men's 2000m and 500m); Athens Greece Tolentino, Christian Joseph Jasmin, Emmanuel Joseph Obana, Joachim de Jesus, Van Maxilom (U-23 men's lightweight 2000m and 500m); Amelyn Pagulayan (women's open 2000m and 500m); Kristine Paraon (U-23 women's 2000m); Alyssa Go (U-23 women's lightweight 2000m and 500m); Joanie Delgaco (women's open 500m); and Kharl Julianne Sha (U-23 women's lightweight 500m).
Meanwhile, Nievarez said the tournament will serve as a springboard for a bigger tournament in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.
The Tokyo Olympian, who has been observing a weight cut, added that the national team is eyeing no less than the gold medal for the as he competes in the lightweight division as well.
"Ngayon, binabawasan ko siya dapat by April hanggang 72 kilograms para makalaro sa lightweight. Parang weight cut lang po kami, more on water weight lang din po (I need to decrease my weight to 72 kilograms by April to make the lighweight cut)," said Nievarez.