Noble finishes Olympic regatta as second top African rower

Friday July 30 2021
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Uganda's rower at the 2020 Olympic games, Kathleen Noble. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Makhtum Muziransa

Ugandan rower Kathleen Grace Noble saved the best for the last to end her Tokyo 2020 Olympic regatta as the second top placed African contestant in the 2000m women’s single scull held this morning at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Noble was in Final E, where she gave her all- upping her rate to 37 strokes per minute, to finish just behind only Qatari challenger, Tala Abujbara (8:00.22) but beating contestants from Nicaragua (8:10.37), Singapore (8:21.23), Morocco (8:25.38) and Nigeria (8:42.78).

“I am so proud, she used every ounce of energy,” Coach Ahsan Iqbal said after her rower finished in eight minutes seven seconds (8:07.00).

“She stuck to the plan and blasted out at the start. And then stuck with it,” Iqbal added as Noble placed 26th out of the 32 rowers that entered the competition.

“She is very pleased with it. She could not barely step out of the boat and leaned on me for the first few minutes. There was not an ounce of energy left in her as she used it all on the course,” Iqbal described his rower who felt proud leaving everything on course.

The 26-year-old Ugandan, however, finished behind 18th placed Nambian rower Maike Diekmann (7:52.17) at the competition that climaxed this morning.

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National record

Noble who weighs about 61kg and is-5ft 8inches- should technically be rowing in a lightweight category. However, the Olympics offer only an open weight category, which could have rowers of up to 75kg, one that Noble had never contested in for Uganda before.

This leaves her 8:07.00 time clocked in today’s gritty performance as the national record in the open weight category.

Today’s time, however, is her second-best overall ever but also the second time she is setting a new national record this month.

On July 3, at the US Independence Regatta in Philadelphia she clocked 7:5.05, a lightweight category national record, albeit recorded on more aiding waters that flowed in the same direction with the boat.

The Philadelphia time beat the 8:27.85 made at Netherlands 2016 World U-23 Championships, in which Noble rowed on flat water in the lightweight single sculls.

How They Finished at the 2020 Olympics

Gold: Emma Twigg (New Zealand) – 7:13.97

Silver: Hanna Prakasten (Russian Olympic Committee) – 7.17.39

Bronze: Magdalena Lobnig (Austria) – 7.19.72

 African Boat Placements

18th: Namibia – Maike Diekmann (7.52.17)

26th: Uganda – Kathleen Noble (8.07.00)

29th: Morocco – Sarah Fraincart (8.25.38)

30th: Nigeria – Esther Toko (8.42.78)

31st: Togo – Claire Ayivon (8.44.42)

32nd: Sudan – Esraa Khogali (10.05.32)

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