Hangzhou: Rowing made its Asian Games debut in 1982 at New Delhi but India got its biggest success in 2010 when Bajrang Lal Thakar won the country’s first gold medal in the continental extravaganza.
Bajrang won the gold medal in the Men’s Single Sculls and then the Men’s Quadruple Sculls (Sawarn Singh, Dattu Bhoknal, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh added a second gold to the tally in 2018 in Jakarta–Palembang. So far India has won 2 gold, 5 silver and 16 bronze medals overall in Asian Games rowing competitions.
On Sunday at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre in Hangzhou, Indian rowers will figure in five finals, hoping to add more gold medals to the two the country has already won.
It has been a great run on the water for the rowing squad with India reaching finals in nine out of 10 categories in which they competed.
The Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls pair of Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh will be figuring in the first medal race for India. Both of them are quite experienced having rowed in the Tokyo Olympics. They will be taking on pairs from Japan, China, Hong Kong China, Uzbekistan and South Korea. It will be a tough competition but the Indians are confident after making it to the final.
The Men’s Double Sculls team of Santam Singh and Parminder Singh will be up next while India will also figure in the women’s Four final with the quartet of P Babu Aswathi, Mrunmayee Nilesh, Priya Devi Thangjam and Rukmani hoping to stroke their way to a medal, hoping to add to the lone bronze won in women’s section by the Coxless Pair of Pratima Puhan and Pramila Prava Minz in 2010.
The Mn’s Pair of Babu Lal Yadav and Lekh Ram and the Men’s Eight are the last group of Indians taking part in the final on Sunday.
Chief coach Ismail Baig will be taking his position at the coach’s table on Sunday with a lot of confidence as his rowers have lived up to the billing and reached the finals.
“We have done well so far but the finals will be the real challenge and I am hopeful that we will win some medals,” said Baig.
India will figure in four more finals on Monday, September 25 as the rowing competitions will come to an end. The country’s main medal hope Balraj Panwar will be taking a shot at a medal in the Men’s Single Sculls on Monday.
China have dominated the Asian Games rowing winning 98 medals in all including 92 gold medals. The hosts are expected to rule the waters in Hangzhou too.
But China has also been a happy hunting ground for Indian rowers in the Asian Games and the country produced its best performance in China in 2010.
In Guangzhou, India finished with one gold, three silver and one bronze medal while in Indonesia in 2018, the country claimed one gold and two bronze medals.
Considering their performance so far, the Indian rowing enthusiasts will be hoping China once again will be quite a successful venue for the Indians.