Esther Toko became the first Nigerian athlete to compete at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics, taking to the water at the Sea Forest Waterway early on Friday morning in the women’s Singles Sculls of the Rowing event.
Making her Olympics debut, Toko finished 5th in heat 1 of her event, clocking a time of 8:58.49 as she settled for a place in the Repechage, finishing outside the top three positions that would have granted automatic qualifications. A Repechage is a contest in which the best-placed of those who failed to win heats compete for a place in the final.
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The top three finishers in each heat will automatically make the quarterfinal, while the remaining crew will go into the Repechage for another crack at making the latter stages of the competition.
Toko is the second Nigerian athlete ever to compete in the Rowing event. She follows in the steps of Chierika Ukogu, who made history at the Rio 2016 Olympics where she became the first Nigerian to compete in Rowing.
This is a good learning curve for the young Nigerian Rower, but it’s not over for her yet in Tokyo as she will return early on Saturday for the Repechage, hoping she can still progress to the latter stages.