Pinoy rowers face rough waters

The national rowing team braces for tough battles in the 19th Asian Games starting Wednesday at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre in Hangzhou, China.

National rowing team assistant coach Nic Jasmin said countries like China, Iran, Thailand and Japan will be their biggest challenges as they seek to return to the medal podium of this prestigious quadrennial meet for the first time in more than two decades.

Bannered by Tokyo Olympics veteran Cris Nievarez, the six-man rowing team composed of Joanie Delgaco, Tammy Sha, Feiza Lenton, Edgar Ilas and Zuriel Sumintac was the first delegation to leave for Hangzhou over the weekend.

Nievarez will see action in the men’s single sculls while Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Delgaco will vie in the women’s single sculls.

SEA Games bronze medalists Ilas and Sumintac will compete in the lightweight men’s double sculls with Lenton and Sha participating in the lightweight women’s double sculls.

The last time the Philippines brought home an Asian Games medal in rowing was in  2002 in Busan, South Korea in which Alvin Amposta and Nestor Cordova snagged a bronze medal in the lightweight women’s double sculls.

This year, Jasmin admitted that the battles will not be easy.

“Japan is strong in the single sculls alongside Iran. China is expected to be strong in rowing but that will depend on the flow of the tournament,” Jasmin, whose wards will be seeing action in the Asian Games for the first time since 2016, said.

“Thailand really prepared for this tournament since their team competed in world tournaments this year and hired two foreign coaches.”

Jasmin, however, stressed that the Asian Games will be a perfect opportunity for them to scout the opposition in the Paris Olympics next year.

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