With many high-profile events lined up for this year and the next, India’s rowers, most of them international medallists, have hit the waters
Like most other metros across the country, the twin cities also find themselves in the grip of IPL action. While the matches are being widely followed and discussed in street corners and offices alike, a silent group of champions, albeit of a different sport, religiously go about preparations for the many high-profile events lined up ahead.
Asian Games gold medallist and Padma Shri awardee Bajrang Lal Thakkar is part of a 60-member rowing contingent that has been training in the turbid waters of the Hussainsagar Lake. With the World championship coming up in late August and the Youth Olympics and Asian Games scheduled next year, Bajrang Lal and his mates overlook the unpleasant temperatures.
These rowers stay cool; quite significantly quite a few of them are women, who make frequent forays into the two-km course to master the nuances of what is arguably one of the most demanding sports.
Bajrang Lal is no mood to forget the waters which pushed him to the pedestal of glory in rowing.
“I just cannot think of life without rowing. It has given me so much in life. I am always available so that young talent can pick up a few new aspects of the sport and be better rowers,” he says.
The fact that he returned to rowing just a few days after being conferred the prestigious Padma Shri is a gentle reminder of his romance with the waters. And, perhaps, also of the typical indefatigable spirit of the rowing fraternity.
“It is a tribute to their grit, determination and unbridled zeal to keep winning laurels that bring these rowers every morning to this lake,” insists India’s chief national coach and Dronacharya Ismail Baig. He takes pride in reminding that 90 per cent of the rowers who train daily are international medallists.
A batch of students from AP Sports School (Hakimpet) will be training here along with these Olympians and internationals from May 1.
“In fact, we will be on a talent-spotting trip across the State very soon to pick enthusiastic youngsters and groom them to ensure that AP emerges as a major assembly line of rowers (till now most successful rowers were from Services),” says the coach, for whom the Hussainsagar is second home of sorts since 2001.
“We definitely take pride in producing many medallists at the Asian-level than many other sports which get better patronage,” he signs off.