Olympian Bajrang Lal Takhar keen to set up rowing academy in Rajasthan

Bajrang Lal Takhar, a quarterfinalist at the 2008 Olympics and gold medallist at the 2010 Asian Games, wants to set up a rowing academy in Rajasthan.

Bajrang Lal Thakar

Bajrang Lal Thakar won gold in the 2000m single sculls event at the 2010 Asian Games.   -  AP Photo

Steering clear of the debate on the Union Sports Ministry's recent decision to de-recognise the Rowing Federation of India, Bajrang Lal Takhar, 2010 Asian Games gold medallist in singles scull, is doing what he loves the most - staying connected with the sport.

The 2008 Olympics quarterfinalist’s passion for the sport and the desire to give back to rowing have not diminished as he tries to encourage youth in his village of Maganpura (60 km from Jaipur) to take up rowing.

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“There are no lakes there but the ergometer is my best companion and the whole idea is to get them hooked to rowing and dream big. I am determined to guide the youth interested in rowing,” says Barjang Lal in a chat with Sportstar from Jaipur.

“About 200 youth were there in my village for the orientation classes and I was immensely pleased with the kind of response. And, another 1500 attended my online coaching classes,” says the former Asian champion.

“I am in constant touch and working in coordination with 2004 Athens Olympics silver medallist and shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and he is very keen to give sports a major fillip in Rajasthan,” adds the 39-year-old.

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Not surprisingly, Bajrang, who retired from the Indian Army, has sent a proposal to set up an academy in Rajasthan at one of these places - Kota, Ajmer, Chambal and Udaipur - and is targetting the under-20 age group.

“It is pending with the Union Sports Ministry and I am hoping for a positive response after the lockdown,” says the the Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee who had made Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad his second home during his competing days.

“Definitely, it will be demanding for the Indian rowers to reach the desired peak in the post-Covid-19 scenario. The online classes can be helpful only to some extent. Training with a coach in the water is totally different,” says Bajrang.

“It is unfortunate the lockdown broke the momentum of Indian rowers preparing for the next Olympics,” said Bajrang, who was associated with the Indian camp in Pune before the lockdown.

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