Rowing

Canada earns Tokyo Olympic spot in women's rowing after New Zealand drops out

Canada picked up a bonus ticket to the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. The country was awarded a quota spot in women's lightweight double sculls, a rowing event, by World Rowing after a New Zealand boat was forced to drop out.

Jill Moffatt, Jennifer Casson slated to compete in lightweight double sculls event

Jennifer Casson, left, trains with partner Jill Moffatt, right, on Elk Lake in Victoria. The duo could be headed to Tokyo after Canada was awarded an Olympic spot on Friday. (Kevin Light Photography)

Canada picked up a bonus ticket to the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

The country was awarded a quota spot in women's lightweight double sculls, a rowing event, by World Rowing after a New Zealand boat was forced to drop out.

Once New Zealand declared it wouldn't be sending a tandem to Tokyo, its quota spot reverted to the next highest ranked boat from the 2019 world championships which hadn't already qualified.

Canada's Jill Moffatt, 28 of Bethany, Ont., and Jennifer Casson, 25 of Kingston, Ont., placed second in the B Final, eighth overall at the event that occurred in the Czech Republic in August 2019.

That was enough to be next in line for Tokyo. Due to COVID-19, Moffatt and Casson haven't competed since.

The New Zealand duo of Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle wound up winning gold at the world championships, but won't be in Tokyo as McBride retired due to health concerns.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, there is excitement in the air for us," Casson said.

"Losing such incredible competitors as the New Zealand lightweight double is truly a loss to the lightweight event, if not the sport. Jackie [Kiddle] and Zoe [McBride] have been at the top of their game for a long time, and their results and class act as a crew and individuals attest to that."

Victoria's Lindsay Jennerich, 38, and Patricia Obee, 29, won silver in the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics before retiring a year later, citing tension with Rowing Canada.

Tokyo 2020 will mark the first time rowing becomes fully gender equal at the Olympics, with seven events each for men and women.

Canada has already qualified for five other women's events, along with the men's pair race. More rowers could book their tickets to Tokyo at a last-chance qualifier in May.

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