HANGZHOU—Joanie Delgaco was fifth in the final of the 19th Asian Games women’s singles scull of rowing where height determines who wins and who doesn’t.
Ranged against grizzled rowers who all stand close to 6 feet, the 5-foot-5 Delgaco, the only Southeast Asian in the final round, clocked eight minutes and 5.93 seconds to finish 27 seconds behind gold winner, 5-foot-11 Anna Prakaten, who clinched silver for Russia in the Tokyo Olympics but is now racing for Uzbekistan.
China’s Liu Ruiqi (5-foot-10) and Japan’s Shiho Yonekawa (5-foot-10) were 11 and 13 seconds off Prakaten for the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi Ting, who’s 5-foot-7, was nine seconds faster than Delgaco at fourth place in the 1,000-meter race held at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre.
Hongkong’s Leung Wing Wun, also 5-foot-5, was sixth and last in the final. She crossed five seconds after Delgaco.
Philippine Rowing Association president Patrick Gregorio said the federation remained proud of what the 25-year-old pride of Bicol accomplished.
“We should all be proud of Joanie’s feat,” Gregorio said. “Asian rowing final is a world-class field. To achieve a fifth-place finish is truly commendable.”
Gregorio added that their goal is to make it to the Paris Olympics in 2024.
“We will continue to focus,” he said. “The Paris 2024 single sculls will have five Asian qualifiers and Cris Nievarez [Tokyo Olympian] also has a good chance of returning to the Olympics following his eighth place finish in the men’s single sculls event.”
Nievarez clocked 7:19.45 to emerge second behind Mahamed Riyadh Jasim Al-Khafaji of Iraq (7:16.72) in the Final B.
“According to our coach, both Joanie and Cris will have a good chance of qualifying for the Paris Olympics 2024 if we prepare and train well,” Gregorio added.
The PRF employed Uzbekistan’s Shukrat Ganiev as foreign coach.
Rowing at the Asian Games is not a qualifier for Paris, but nine sports are—archery, artistic swimming, boxing, breaking, hockey, modern pentathlon, sailing, tennis and water polo.