Rowing: Saiyidah becomes first Singaporean rower to qualify for Olympics

Saiyidah Aisyah Mohamed Rafa’ee celebrating with her supporters after winning a bronze medal in the women's single sculls light (1,000m) final held at the Marina Channel on June 14, 2015. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

SINGAPORE- National rower Saiyidah Aisyah has become the first Singaporean rower to qualify for the Olympic Games by finishing first in the B final of the 2,000 metres women's single sculls event at the 2016 Fisa Asia and Oceania Continental Olympic Qualification Regatta on Monday morning.

The 28-year-old clocked 7 min 53.13seconds at the Tangeum Lake in Chungju, South Korea to earn a coveted spot at the Rio Games in August.

Only the top seven rowers at the qualifying regatta qualify for Summer Games in Brazil. These currently comprise all six rowers in the A final - Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Taipei, Vietnam - and Saiyidah, winner of the B final.

The 2013 South-east Asia Games rowing champion and 2015 SEA Games double bronze medallist won her tightly-contested race ahead of Thailand's Phuttharaksa Neegree (7:54.22) and Qatar's Tala Aladin Abujbara (7:55.66).

Saiyidah moved to Sydney last year and has spent most of her life savings in order to train full-time and chase her Olympic dream.

Geraldine Lee and Lim Heem Wei became Singapore's first canoeist and gymnast respectively to qualify for the Olympics at the London Games in 2012.

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