Rower Manjeet Singh motivated by Dhyan Chand award

The 31-year-old Manjeet, one of the youngest to get this Award and like many rowers in India, is a product of Dronacharya and chief national coach Ismail Baig.

Rower Manjeet Singh with his mentor and chief national coach Ismail Baig.   -  Special Arrangement

For Manjeet Singh, who waded through the murky waters of Hussain Sagar Lake here to leave an impact in rowing, was on Tuesday recommended for the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games by the Union Sports Ministry.

The 31-year-old Manjeet, one of the youngest to get this Award and like many rowers in India, is a product of Dronacharya and chief national coach Ismail Baig, and feels this Award should only motivate him to look for a third Olympics appearance (represented India in 2008 and 2012 editions).

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“This Award means a lot to me. It is for me a life-time achievement. There is a sense of achievement which comes with this Award for which I have been waiting for six years now. And, if Ismail sir wants me to work hard to make the cut for the next Olympics, I will,” says Manjeet in a chat with Sportstar on Wednesday.

The rower, who is employed with the Artillery Centre (Golconda) here, took to rowing at the age of 17. Having secured a silver in the junior nationals, he was preparing for the Asian junior championship at a camp in Hyderabad when he got the national call-up. Since then, the city has become the second home for the rower, who hails from Panjgrain village in Firozpur (Punjab) near the border.

“I must thank the Rowing Federation of India and my fellow rowers and also mainly CPS Singh Deo sir for all his support to be in this position,” says Manjeet.

Having completed the NIS coaching course, Manjeet is now preparing himself for post retirement connect with the sport too and be a link to the city which has also produced Arjuna awardees Bajranglal, Jenil krishnan, Saji Thomas, Sawarn Singh and Satish Joshi.

The quiet achiever said the chief national coach Ismail Baig was a huge inspiration for all the rowers. “The way he teaches the techniques, tactics and makes us feel in the comfort zone, we all feel like giving more than 100 per cent.”