Five Filipino rowers will compete in three events for a possible Olympic berth in the 2021 World Rowing Asian and Oceanian Olympic Qualification Regatta set on May 5-7 at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, the venue of the Tokyo Olympics rowing competitions.
Melcah Caballero and Joanie Delgaco, who won gold in the women’s lightweight double sculls event at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, will try to secure one of the three Olympic spots at stake in their division.
The duo of Roque Abala Jr. And Zuriel Sumintac is also vying for the three Olympic tickets in the men’s lightweight double sculls, while Cris Nievarez, 2019 SEA Games gold medalist, is the only Filipino competitor in the men’s lightweight singles sculls event, where five Olympic tickets are up for grabs.
National team coach Ed Maerina stated that the rowers have been training six times a week since February of last year, despite the country’s strict movement restrictions and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The five rowers hope to follow the footsteps of Maerina and Benjamin Tolentino, the only Filipinos who competed in the Summer Olympics rowing competitions.