By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Rower Cris Nievarez admitted that he’s now feeling the pressure of being the first athlete in the Philippine team to see action in the Tokyo Olympics late this month.
Nievarez will debut in the men’s single sculls heats in the morning of July 23, a few hours before the grandest stage in sports is formally opened.
“Yung pressure andun po pero sanay na po tayo dun,” Nievarez told Manila Bulletin.
The 21-year-old Atimonan, Quezon native, however, sees this schedule as a blessing since there would be a number of elimination races until it reaches the Final 6 for the medal race.
The rowing competition is scheduled from July 23 to 30 at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Nievarez hopes to race until the last day.
“Sana po makapasok dun (final 6),” he said.
“Ginagawa ko naman po yung best ko sa training pa lang para pagdating dun ready na po agad akong mag-compete.”
Nievarez added his training intensified after earning a berth to the Games last May. He’s doing four types of training four times a day for the past weeks before entering the “recovery week” of training three types of training three times a day before leaving for Tokyo.
Barring any changes in flight schedule, Nievarez is expected to arrive at the Olympic Athletes’ Village on July 17.
Nievarez earned a berth to the Olympics by virtue of Continental Qualification at the Asia Oceania Qualification Regatta at the same Olympic venue last May. He boasts of a gold medal in the men’s lightweight single sculls at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.