BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
ZIMBABWE rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin failed to reach the final of the A/B semifinals of men’s singles sculls at the Olympic Games after finishing sixth in his quarterfinal race held at Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday.
After bowing out of contention of medal contention, the 27-year-old former St Georges College pupil is now set to compete in the C/D semifinals on Thursday.
Purcell-Gilpin secured his place for the quarterfinals after he came first in the repechage in the early hours of Saturday morning in 7:35.16, making him the only African to secure automatic qualification through a repechage and the second African to take part in the quarter finals.
The semifinals had been previously scheduled for tomorrow, but were later rescheduled to Thursday due to a typhoon.
After the race was moved to yesterday, Purcell-Gilpin, who had very little time to recover after the repechage, found the going tough after finishing sixth behind Bermuda’s Alizadeh Dara, who finished fifth in 7:35.73.
Denmark’s Nielson Sverri managed to lead the pack after he clocked in 7:10.52, while Canada’s Trevor Jones came second in 7:17.65. Vyazovkin Alexander was third in 7:20.02 while Karzakli Onat came forth in 7:32:86.
Purcell-Gilpin’s coach James Stephenson commended his athlete for putting on a good performance despite competing against some of the world’s best rowers.
“It’s been a long, hard racing. There have been some ups and downs, but he is getting through it because he is a great chap and ambassador for rowing, great ambassador for Zimbabwe and he gave us all today. But he came across some really very big guys who will be heading to compete for medals. So realistically, that’s a bit challenging but he gave it a good go,” Stephenson said.
Purcell-Gilpin thanked Zimbabweans for their overwhelming support as he continues climbing the ladder at the Olympics.
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