Hangzhou, China: Joanie Delgaco aims to make history by competing in the Women’s Singles Skull Final at the 19th Asian Games here on Monday at Fuyang Water Sports Centre.
Delgaco, 25, will appear as an underdog at the event, which begins at 9:10 a.m., battling a formidable array of competitors shown by experienced Uzbek players who won silver at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Anna Prakaten, who was born in Bulgaria and is currently representing Uzbekistan, is a big favorite after finishing first in the semifinals with a time of 7:47.88, far from Delgaco’s 8:18:30 to enter the medal table.
Also in the field are Japan’s Shino Yonekawa, China’s Liu Luichi, Hong Kong’s Leung Wing Yun, and Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yying.
If Delgaco is lucky, the Filipinos will win their first gold medal in rowing in this prestigious continental competition.
It is also the first medal since Alvin Amphosta and Nestor Cordova won bronze in the men’s lightweight doubles at the 2002 Busan Games.
Patrick Gregorio, president of the Philippine Rowing Association, acknowledges that fighting will not be easy, but expects Delgaco to do its best to make history.
Gregorio admitted that Uzbekistan would be formidable, but there is a possibility that Bicol’s pride, Delgaco, will make an earth-shaking upset.
“Johnny’s personal best is 7 minutes 39 seconds, training at La Mesa Dam last week,” Gregorio said.
“If she replicates it, she’s more likely to get angry.”
Tokyo Olympics veteran Chris Nievarez will also compete in the final match.