Tokyo Olympics qualifier, rower Cris Nievarez is awaiting the return of Uzbekistan coach Shukrat Ganiev.
Ganiev’s arrival before the start of the Olympics will surely help Nievarez improve on his performance.
The 60-year-old Uzbek coach was around to help the national squad for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
With Ganiev’s guidance and the assistance he provided to Filipino rowing coach Ed Maerina, the national rowing team was able to win three golds and a bronze medal in the SEA Games.
Ganiev is expected to be back two months before the games officially begin.
“Nag-umpisa siya before the SEA Games. Naging continuous ang training namin. Dire-diretso siya. Ngayon, madadagdan ang ensayo namin sa kanya,” said the 20-year-old Nievarez, who added that he was stunned when he learned that he was able to clinch qualification slot to the Olympics.
After finishing 5th in the semifinals of the Asia Oceania Continental Qualification Regatta in Japan on Friday, Nievarez placed ninth in the overall rankings, but still clinched a seat to the Olympics as some rowers ahead of him were already qualified in the games.
Nievarez, who talked about his coming campaign in the Olympiad on Tuesday during the weekly online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, added that Ganiev’s guidance has helped the national team in its efforts to finish well in international meets.
Joining Nievarez at the forum was Philippine Rowing Association president Patrick Gregorio.
Nievarez is the third Filipino rower in history to earn an Olympic slot, next to coach Maerina and Benjie Tolentino
With the Olympics just around the corner, Nievarez said Ganiev’s teachings will allow him to improve on his personal best time.
“Goal ko na ma-improve ang time ko hanggang sa makadikit ako sa mga medallist,” said Nievarez, who has shifted to the much tougher single sculls category after the SEA Games.
“Depende ito sa tubig at sa hangin. Ang best time ng mga medallist ay malapit sa seven minutes. Nasa 7:10 po (malapit) ang (best) time ko,” added Nievarez.