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.
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.
Speaking after the event, Toko said despite the lockdown she kept on training and working hard for the games.”It means a lot to me because this is my first outing in the international game and my first at the Olympics, I’m glad.
“When lockdown started I returned home and relied only on personal exercises. “After the lockdown, I returned to Abuja to train.
“For Repechage event tomorrow, I will do all my best to qualify for the semi-final,” she said