DUBAI: Saudi participation in Tokyo 2020’s first official day got off to a disappointing start when rower Husein Alireza finished last in Heat 4 of the Men’s Single Sculls in the early hours of Friday morning.
The result means Alireza, who finished fifth out of five starters in his heat at the newly-built Sea Forest Waterway, will now compete in Saturday morning’s repechage, which allows the athletes who finished outside the top three qualification spots in the heats to have another bite at progressing to the quarterfinals.
Coming into the Olympics, there had been high hopes that Alireza would perform well having had several intensive preparation camps this year, although a shoulder injury in May while training in the US disrupted his progress.
Alireza finished with time of 7:54:18, behind winner Trevor Jones of Canada, Mindaugas Griskonis of Lithuania and Onat Kazakli of Turkey, who all qualified to the quarterfinals. Dara Alizadeh of Bermuda, who finished fourth, joins the 27-year-old Saudi in the repechage.
Tomorrow morning (3.20 am KSA), Alireza will line up against Riilio Rii (Vanuatu), Peter Purcell-Gilpin (Zimbabwe), Finn Florijn (Netherlands) and Abdulrahman Al-Fadhel (Kuwait) in Repechage 3. The top two finishers will progress to the quarterfinals.