Uganda’s female rower Kathleen Noble Grace qualified for the Women’s Single Sculls Final E (non medal) at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games after finishing second in the semi-final E/F on Sunday morning.
Kathleen who is Uganda’s first-ever rower at the Olympic Games finished second with a time of 8:31.7, making her the second fastest African rower at the summer games.
The Women’s Single Sculls Final E will take on Friday at 2:15 a.m EAT but rowing schedules are subjected to change due to expected adverse weather conditions (typhoon) in Tokyo Bay earlier this coming week.
The other athletes who made it to the Single Sculls Final E from Kathleen’s heat are; Qatar’s Tala Abujbara who finished first in a time of 8:31.67 and Nigeria’s Esther Toko who capped the podium with a time of 9:07.70.
Earlier at the games, Kathleen finished 5th in Heat 2 of Women’s Single Sculls during the opening round on Friday, 23rd July, finishing with a time of 8:25.85, beating only Singapore’s Joan Poh who finished sixth with a time of 8:31.2.
She later headed to the event’s Repechage where Ireland’s Sanita Puspuse won the race with a time of 7:46.08 followed by Mexico’s Kenia Lechuga who managed a time of 7:54.21. Greece’s Anneta Kyridou sealed the podium with a time of 7:54.28. Trinidad and Tobago’s Felice Aisha Chow finished fourth with a time of 8:02.02 and also competed at the event’s Repechage.
At the Repechage, Kathleen finished 3rd with a time of 8:36.01 in Heat 3 of Women’s Single Sculls. She emerged best African in the heat after finishing above Togo’s Claire Ayivon who managed a time 9:04.23 as Sudan’s Esraa Khogali trailed with a time of 10:25.94.
However, albeit finishing on the podium, she could no longer compete for silverware for only the top two athletes from her Heat could make it to the quarter finals. She later competed for positions in the semi final E/F.
However, for Kathleen, it wasn’t about medals but rather getting into the global stage and competing against former Olympians must have been fulfilling for her and hopefully her appearance in Tokyo will open doors for more rowers back at home to earn slots at the summer games.
Prior to the Olympics, Kathleen’s main target was to emerge the fastest African female rower at the games as she strived to perform well against all odds despite wearing the underdog tag.
The Olympics will run from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan with 25 Ugandan athletes (13 females and 12 males) set to be in the mix.