Olympics: S'pore rower Saiyidah Aisyah reaches quarters after finishing 3rd in heats

National rower Saiyidah Aisyah waves after clocked 8:44.71 in Heat 4 of the women's single sculls race on Aug 6, 2016.
National rower Saiyidah Aisyah waves after clocked 8:44.71 in Heat 4 of the women's single sculls race on Aug 6, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
National rower Saiyidah Aisyah competes in the women's single sculls race on Aug 6, 2016.
National rower Saiyidah Aisyah competes in the women's single sculls race on Aug 6, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO - National rower Saiyidah Aisyah, Singapore's first Olympic rower, finished third in her heats on Saturday morning (Aug 6) on the opening day of the Rio Games competition.

The 28-year-old clocked 8:44.71 in Heat 4 of the women's single sculls race held at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Copacabana.

Duan Jingli from China won the 2,000m, five-rower race in a time of 8:18.57.

Duan, Switzerland's JeanineGmelin (8:28.10) and Saiyidah qualify for Tuesday's quarter-finals.

A delighted Saiyidah said: "I just relaxed and tried my best. What an amazing experience. I am proud to represent Singapore. There is a bit of pressure but it is going to be exciting (in the quarter-finals). I hope it (her participation in the Olympics) will inspire others."

Saiyidah, the 2013 SEA Games champion, had targeted a place in the D final and a top-24 finish among the 32 participants.

She had earned her spot in Brazil after winning the B final of April's Asia and Oceania Continental Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chung-ju, South Korea.

She had moved to Sydney last year to train full-time in pursuit of her Olympic dreams and had used her life savings. She even took to crowd-funding earlier this year to fund her training expenses.