Nievarez looks to shed pounds for lightweight sculls defense | Inquirer Sports
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Vietnam SEA Games

Nievarez looks to shed pounds for lightweight sculls defense

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:14 AM February 09, 2022
Cris Nievarez —

Cris Nievarez —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Various challenges lay ahead in the bid of rower Cris Nievarez to keep his title in the forthcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).

But it seems the biggest hurdle for the Tokyo Olympian would be his strong desire to shed off some pounds.

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“I’m focused on my SEA Games preparation, because I have to lose some weight,’’ said Nievarez in Filipino, the gold medalist in the men’s lightweight single sculls during the previous SEA Games in 2019 hosted by the Philippines.

From his weight of 78 kilograms, the 5-foot-11 Nievarez has been working out to cut his physique to a leaner 71-kg frame in time for the May 11 to May 14 races in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Philippine Rowing Association president Patrick Gregorio confirmed that Vietnam organizers lowered the weight restrictions in the lightweight single sculls where Nievarez is highly favored to retain the crown.

“Cris has to slim down and hopefully, he can retain his power and energy. They have set a lower weight limit and I respect that. It’s all part of the game,’’ said Gregorio.

Nievarez seized a silver medal in the men’s under-23 2000 meter during the 2022 Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships hosted by Hong Kong last month.

That event was the qualifier for the World Rowing Indoor Championships on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, a global meet that Nievarez has opted to skip to better prepare for Hanoi.

“I think it would be better for me not to participate in the world championships where I qualified in the open category. It might affect my preparations for the SEA Games,’’ said Nievarez.

The Philippine national rowing squad claimed three gold medals and a bronze in the 2019 SEA Games held in Subic Bay, with the two other golds won by Melcah Jen Caballero in the women’s lightweight single sculls and in the lightweight double sculls with Joanie Delgaco.

Now that Caballero has retired from the national team to focus on her military career, Gregorio said they are looking at 19-year-old Kristin Paraon and Delgaco to carry the fight.

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The 5-foot-11 Paraon grabbed two silver medals in the women’s under-23 2000m and 500m during the Asian Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships.

“We’re excited to develop her (Paraon). As we have seen, we can achieve success if we have a good grassroots program,’’ said Gregorio, who is proud that most of the national rowing pool members are younger than 23 years old.

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TAGS: Cris Nievarez, rowing, SEA Games, Sports
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