Rowing through rough waters bears fruit for Indians

The gold medallists at the Asian Championship were Parminder Singh, Balwinder Singh, Shagandeep Singh, Avinash Kaur, Pratik Gupta and Mrunmayee Nilesh Salgaonkar.

An eight-member Indian rowing team returned with the best-ever haul in the Asian Rowing Championship edition last week — seven gold, five silver and a bronze.   -  REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE/ GETTY

They trained before the recent Asian Indoor rowing championship in the murky waters of Hussain Sagar Lake for three weeks with all intensity and thanks to the mentorship of the tireless C.P.S. Deo, honorary Life President of Rowing Federation of India, in coordination with the chief national coach Ismail Baig and his deputy Jenil Krishnan.

When the eight-member Indian rowing team returned with the best-ever haul in the Bangkok edition last week — seven gold, five silver and a bronze — it was a testimony to the passion and commitment of these rowers, who were picked on the basis of their performances in the recent National Ergometer Rowing Championship in Puducherry.

For the record, the gold medallists were Parminder Singh, Balwinder Singh, Shagandeep Singh, Avinash Kaur, Pratik Gupta and Mrunmayee Nilesh Salgaonkar, the silver medallists were Navneet Kaur, Mayurakshi Mukherjee, Parminder Singh, Balwinder Singh, and Mrunmayee Nilesh Salgaonkar. The lone bronze was picked by Navneet and Mayurakshi.

Interestingly, Balwinder and Avinash are the children of India’s first Olympic rower Inderpal Singh.

Team coach Krishnan said they were not expecting this kind of a medal haul but were keen to put in their best. “Hats off to their fighting spirit, the rowers stunned many critics and this augurs well for the sport itself as we prepare for the World senior and the junior championships this August,” he says in a chat with Sportstar.

“Definitely, the target-training set by Ismail sir helped them to get tuned to the challenges they were to face in the Asian meet,” he recalled.

“The best part of the show being Parminder and Balwinder setting a new Asian indoor record in men’s doubles with a timing of 6:14.50 beating the previous best of 6:16.00,” said a delighted Jenil.

“We have to take the sport forward. Given the kind of talent available, we are hopeful of a ‘golden’ future in international events,” says CPS Deo, who is into the sport for 43 years now in one capacity or the other in the RFI.

“The camps will be on for junior boys and girls and the senior women in Hyderabad while, men will train at the Army Institute in Pune,” he concluded.