CHENNAI: Rower Sawarn Singh has won a bagful of national and international medals including a bronze and a gold at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, respectively. Once a regular in the core group, the 31-year-old rower will be seen representing Punjab in the ongoing 39th Senior and 23rd Open Sprints National Rowing Championships at the Army Rowing Node in Pune.
Given his responsibility with the Indian Army, where he is subedar major, Sawarn is currently posted at the National Defence Academy in Pune. Despite his day-to-day responsibilities, Sawarn ensures he stays in touch with the sport by imparting training to the upcoming rowers at the Academy. That role also gives him the opportunity of honing his skills to keep himself competition ready.
"Coaching is a good way to work on your skills simultaneously. Although training 24x7 for a competition and working on your game in free time is totally different, it still keeps you in the loop," Sawarn, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics, told this daily.
He will be competing in the 500m mixed double sculls along with Punjab cop Harpreet Kaur. Rowers from 13 states will take part in the event with the heats scheduled on Friday while the semifinals and finals scheduled day after. "Our first aim is to enter the final. Once that is done, I will think about repeating the feat I achieved in 2018," he added. Sawarn had finished first in the mixed double sculls in 2018 nationals as well.
While a medal in the nationals will help him stay competitive for a few more years, the 2015 Arjuna Award winner hopes to dribble into full-time coaching eventually to churn out quality rowers. "Tapping natural talent and moulding them into future stars is the aim. I know it's not easy as rowing is an expensive sport, but it can be done if all stakeholders come together and decide to bring about a positive change."
Sawarn is also happy with the changes the sport has witnessed in the last few years. "When we started, coaches used to don multiple hats. Our coach was our physiotherapist as well as psychologist. The rowers got a physical trainer as late as 2019. I hope the practice continues as it will help Indian rowers make their mark at international level," signed off Sawarn.