TOKYO—Never mind if Cris Nievarez finished second to last in men’s single sculls of rowing at the Tokyo Olympics in the event’s final day on Friday at the Sea Forest Waterway.
An Olympic first timer at 21, Nievarez has a long future ahead of him.
“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 clocking of seven minutes and 21.28 seconds was good for fifth place finish in the event’s Final D of the classification round. But it was faster than the 7:22.97 he registered in the preliminary round that sent him to the quarterfinals on July 23 when the Olympics had yet to open.
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.
There were 32 participants in the men’s single sculls including those eliminated from the preliminaries, but Gregorio said Nievarez had nothing to be ashamed of.
“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.