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Indian rowers have the ability to put up good show, feels coach Baig

Published: 21st July 2012 11:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2012 11:03 AM   |  A+A-

Rowers Swarn Singh (single scull), Manjeet Singh and Sa­­n­­deep Kumar (double sculls) have co­­­me a long way.  The trio may not ho­­pe for a medal but qualifying for t­­he Olympics itself is a matter of pr­i­de and competing with rowers from Eu­ropean countries will be first-ha­n­d experience for the Indians.

They are ready to perform on the bi­­g stage and are confident to hold the nerve and match their skills with the world best rowers. The three are ex­­cited about the Olympics. For Sw­­a­­rn and Sandeep, it will be their ma­i­den appearance but for Manjeet it is his second Olympics after taking part in the 2008 Beijing Games.

Swarn clinched the gold in the  As­­i­­an Championship in South Korea ea­­rlier this year to make the cut. “It is a huge feeling to be at the Olympi­­cs. As a child I was helping my father (Gurmukh Singh) a farmer, in tilling the land in our village Dalewalle in Pu­­­­njab. We never knew of water sp­­ort. But by chance there was selecti­­o­n in the army and the rest is histo­ry,” said Swarn, who adds that As­ian Games gold medallist Bajrang L­al Thakar is a role model to all.

“He has been an inspiration to ma­­n­y young rowers because of his exceptional performances.”

Swarn has clocked seven minutes in the two-km course . “Of course it wi­­ll be different from the waters of Hu­ssainsagar and at London. But by rowing on Hussainsagar helped us pr­­­actice on hard and rough water. And on the light water at the Olympi­­c­s could give us a better timing,” said Swarn. Indian rowing coach Ismail Baig said Swarn has made rapid strides in the last few years. “Swarn has the skills and courage to take on the challenge. I feel if he is consistent, he can make it to the qu­arterfinals,” said Baig.

Manjeet also hails from Punjab. He is from the Ferozepur district. “I was fascinated towards sports from a yo­­ung age. My father wanted me to do fa­­rming. But I was not interes­ted. Lu­­­­ckily, when I got the army offer, I di­­d not hesitate to join. Tod­ay, I th­­i­­nk I made the right choice,” said Ma­­njeet, who took part in double sc­ull event in 2008 Games.

Sandeep comes from Gu­dhagorji village, in Jhunojhno district of Rajasthan. “For many in Rajasthan, Ba­jrang’s fe­­ats motivated us to take to sport. There are now more financi­al incent­­ives. That has made many of them ta­­ke interest in sports. Ever since I to­­ok the water sport through army, my life has changed. Today, I am we­­a­­ring the Indian colours at the Olympics,” said Sandeep.



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