T&T's rower Felice Aisha Chow has qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.
Yesterday, Chow placed third in the women's singles sculls at the Americas Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
"I'm so happy, I get the chance to represent Trinidad one more time on the Olympic stage," said Chow, who in 2016 became the first rower from this country to compete at an Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro.
She will compete at the Tokyo Olympics while will take place from July 23 to August 8 after it was postponed from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Chow, for rowing at the Olympics, there are 156 countries that are members of the rowing federation but there are only 29 spots for my event, the women's single skulls at the Olympics and most of those spots are allocated via these continental regattas.
"This last year has been incredibly difficult and challenging for many reasons with the pandemic (COVID-19) in this regard, it was no different with the organisers making a lot of last-minute changes to the schedule and adaptations and that was really hard on all the athletes but it was definitely another challenge to get through," said Chow, who added that on the first day of competition during the heats she "had some rust to shake off" since she hasn't competed in at an official regatta since 2019.
"For my next race, the repechage, I was able to do much better and I won that race to advance to the final which is a really good thing," said Chow with a giggle yesterday. "It was what I needed to do!"
In the six-competitor final, she needed to secure one of the top five spots to book a place at the Olympics and that she did, crossing third in eight minutes and 13.91 seconds. She followed to the line Mexico's Kenia Lechuga (08:04.62) and Alejandra Alonso of Paraguay (08:09.82), respectively.
"It was an extremely tough race, everyone racing for their lives, racing for this opportunity," she said of her participation in the final. "I was able to push off several competitors and snag a bronze, third place and a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
"So I'm super excited about this, I'm super excited about representing T&T one more time and so for now. I'm going to take the day off and regroup for a day or so, then get back to training for the last couple of months for the big Games Go Team TTO," said a smiling Chow as she pumped her first.
Celebrating with her was T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis.
"Congratulations go out to Dr Felice Aisha Chow. She finished an incredible effort even with all the circumstances including the COVID-19 pandemic and for her to accept the challenge, to be determined and travel to the qualifiers in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro and qualifying for Tokyo 2020 is an incredible achievement and a credit to her indomitable will and unwavering commitment and dedication to achieving her goals," said Lewis yesterday.
"She has qualified for her second Olympics and again in rowing, continuing to be a history-maker in Team T&T. Congratulations to her and her team, her coaches etc.
"I'm incredibly proud of her and her effort."