Tokyo 2020 : Rower Joan Poh kicks off TeamSG’s campaign with a brave performance on her Olympic debut!
by Circle News, on Jul 23, 2021 1:20:44 PM
(Joan Poh competes in the Women's Single Sculls rowing heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Sea Forest Waterway - Photo by Sport Singapore)
By Kenneth Tan
Local rower Joan Poh had the honour of being the first Team Singapore athlete to feature in the Tokyo Olympic Games, when she competed in Heat 2 of the Women's Single Sculls event on Friday morning (July 23).
Over at the Sea Forest Waterway, the 30 year old was in Lane 4 for the 2 kilometer long race, while 2-time world champion Sanita Puspure (Ireland) was in Lane 5. In the Single Sculls, rowers have to propel a boat with one oar in each hand with their backs facing the direction of movement along a 2,000m straight-line course.
(Joan Poh at the start-point in the Women's Single Sculls rowing heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Sea Forest Waterway - Photo by Sport Singapore)
Making her debut at the Games and the second Singaporean rower to compete at the Olympiad after Saiyidah Aisyah did so in 2016, Joan started off pretty well and was ranked fifth after 500m – just 5.68 seconds behind Puspure, with a timing of 2:00.62. However, Uganda’s Kathleen Noble began to overtake the Singaporean thereafter, while she hit the 1 km mark at 4:07.72 – 12.12 seconds off a possible qualification spot (behind Anneta Kyridou). Joan then completed 1.5km in 6:18.86 before finishing the overall race at 8:31.12 – 36.84 seconds behind Kyridou of Greece.
(Joan Poh in the Women's Single Sculls rowing heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Sea Forest Waterway - Photo by Sport Singapore)
Joan's timing of 8:31.12 was 45.04 seconds behind winner Puspure, who progresses to the quarter-finals along with Mexico’s Kenia Lechuga and Kyridou. Having qualified for her 1st Olympic Games with a 12th-place finish at the World Rowing Asia and Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta in May, Joan need not to be disappointed with today's result, as she still has a chance to progress in the competition.
The fulltime staff nurse from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, will be back in action on Saturday morning (24 July) from 7.30am (Singapore time) onwards. Joan will be competing in the 1st Repechage - a round that offers rowers a second chance to reach the quarter-finals. The top finishers in each repechage heat, will progress to the last eight.
Prior to the Games, Joan did say that she wants to do better in the sport of Rowing - a sport which she picked up only in 2014. And with every Games and competition, it's all about learning. Meanwhile, to find out more from this Dragonboater-turned-sailor-turned-rower, here's Joan in a pre-taped Zoom interview on 21 June, talking about achieving her dream of featuring at the Olympics. She also touches on her aim to groom the next generation of rowers for Team Singapore and much more!
The 32nd edition of the Olympic Games is from 23 July to 8 Aug 2021. For all coverage and news of the Republic's national athletes who're competing at the Games, check out the official Team Singapore Tokyo 2020 website.
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Team Singapore athletes have worked tirelessly over the last 12-20 months, especially under strict safety management measures to train and prepare. They've had to step up, pivot and adopt new and innovative methods to train especially with their preparations confined to the Lion City. With no international competitions or training stints, these athletes have had to adopt and maintain a positive mindset as well, throughout this entire journey to reach the grandest stage in Sport!
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Additional reporting by Raj Kumar