The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN rower, Peter Purcell-Gilpin is through to the quarter-finals of the Men’s Single Sculls at the Tokyo Olympics after he secured first place in yesterday’s repachage at the Sea Forest Waterway.
Purcell-Gilpin comfortably won his race in 7:35.16 in the repechage three, ahead of Saud Arabian Husein Alireza.
The 26-year-old is taking part in today’s quarter-finals, which get underway at 04:40 Zimbabwean time.
He is the only African to secure automatic qualification through a repechage to the next round of the Men’s Single Sculls and became the second African in the quarter-finals, with the other athlete being Abdelkhalek El-Banna. An excited Purcell-Gilpin said he appreciates the support from Zimbabweans back home and is looking forward to today’s race.
“It was a very cool race, it’s nice to be in the field, I have another race tomorrow (today), so I am looking to see how we go there. Thank you so much for your support, it’s in the middle of the night for you guys but I will try my best to make it quick so you don’t have to stay up till late,’’ Purcell-Gilpin said.
His coach, James Stephenson said it was a remarkable display for the Zimbabwean rower to finish clear of the rest of the field.
“What an amazing memory for Peter Purcell-Gilpin, he pulled clear immediately off the start, then carried on pulling clear, had probably 50m of clear water at the 1km mark and carried on pulling clear to maybe 200m of clear water by the end. He is a great ambassador for Zimbabwean sport, he is a great ambassador for rowing in general. What an amazing memory for him to be rowing down the middle of the course at the Olympic Games well clear of the field,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson explained what Purcell-Gilpin has to do to make it to the semi-finals.
“He needs to be in the top three of the quarterfinals to progress to the A or B semi-final, the bottom three of the quarter-final progress to the C and D semi-final,’’ said Stephenson.
Meanwhile, 100m backstroke swimmer Donata Katai is starting her first competition today at 12.02 Zimbabwean time. — @Mdawini_29