Asian Games 2023: PH Rower Joanie Delgaco shoots for historic gold

Joanie Delgaco will try to make history when she competes in the final of the women’s single sculls event of the 19th Asian Games on Monday, September 25, at the Fuyang Water Sports Center.

The 25-year-old Delgaco will be an underdog in the race that starts at 9:10 a.m. She faces a formidable cast of competitors bannered by a seasoned Uzbek who won the silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Joanie Delgaco [PSC photo release]
Joanie Delgaco [PSC photo release]

Anna Prakaten, who previously played for Russia, is now representing Uzbekistan. She is heavily favored after topping the semifinals in seven minutes and 47.88 seconds which is way ahead of the 8:18.30 that Delgaco clocked to qualify in the medal round.

Also in the field are Shino Yonekawa of Japan, Liu Ruiqi of China, Leung Wing Wun of Hong Kong and Huang Yi Ting of Chinese Taipei.

If luck rolls Delgaco’s way, it’s going to be the Filipinos’ first-ever gold medal in the rowing competition of this prestigious continental tourney.

It’s also going to be their first medal since Alvin Amposta and Nestor Cordova clinched a bronze medal in the men’s lightweight doubles sculls in the Busan edition of the Asiad in 2002.

Philippine Rowing Association President Patrick Gregorio admitted that the battle will not be easy but expects Delgaco to go all out and try to make history.

“I’m very happy that Joanie is in the finals. She is the only Southeast Asian rower in the finals tomorrow,” Gregorio, who will be at the stands when Delgaco sees action, said.

“It’s going to be tough competition against No. 1 seed Uzbekistan, then China, Japan, and Chinese Taipei. Joanie will be racing in Lane 2 with the No. 1 seed. Hopefully, she outperforms herself.”

Gregorio admitted that the Uzbek will be a tough nut to crack but there is a chance that Delgaco, the pride of Bicol, will pull off an earth-shaking upset.

“Joanie’s personal best is 7:39, which she did last week in training at the La Mesa Dam,” Gregorio said.

“If she duplicates it, she has a good chance of pulling an upset.”

Also seeing action on the final day of hostilities will be Tokyo Olympics veteran Cris Nievarez.

Nievarez will be competing in the Final B of the men’s single sculls event at 9:20 a.m. to determine his final standing in this tournament.

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