Indian rowers bring accolades to the country with the splendid performance at the Guangzhou Asian Games
Not long ago, who is Bajrang Lal Thakar could have been the logical query even amongst the sports fraternity in the city. But not any more. With a stunning display of grit and determination, this 29-year-old rower, born in Rajasthan but who made Hyderabad his home for training in the Hussain Sagar Lake, can now be more familiar thanks to his gold in the men's singles sculls in the Guangzhou Asian Games.
“For, me the next target is to win a medal in 2012 London Olympics,” was the rower's gentle reminder of his next goal. It is quite obvious that these rowers (for the record India won one gold, three silver and a bronze in all in the Guangzhou Asian Games rowing competitions) owe a lot to Ismail Baig and to CPS Deo, president of Rowing Federation of India.
“Well, without them we could not have won all these things,” says Bajrang Lal. “We don't think it would have been possible but for him,” admits Ismail Baig.
“To tell you frankly, these sort of things actually inspired us to aim big,” insists the gold medallist, who in the process picked his sixth gold in an international meet. Lured into the sport by Ismail Baig, he now has no regrets. “I am happy with what God has given me and I can only look ahead and try to give off my best,” he says pointing out that while the Doha Asiad silver was in 1000 m event, it was a new experience in Guangzhou where he won the 2000 m race. “It was an unforgettable feeling even though I was confident of winning since I am the reigning Asian champion,” he remarked.
A magnificent duo
Hail the girl power in rowing! Two teenaged girls Pramila Prava Minz and Pratima Puhana of Orissa, won the bronze at 7:47.50 behind China (7:22.06) and Kazakhstan (7:35.13) in the women's pair event, the first medal for Indian women in rowing.
Not an easy task considering that they left their families behind in Orissa, and have been going through the grind in the city since four years. “We love this sport and are very grateful to the coach and the officials for their magnificent support,” they said on coming back home from the Guangzhou Games.
Winning medal in their first Asiad is a feeling which is yet to sink in for them. “We just wanted to do really well and we are happy with the end-result. The competition was really tough and this is a performance which should spur us to look far beyond the Asian meets now,” say the proud duo.
By all means, it was a fantastic performance from the rowers who can now dream big to script a few more fabulous success stories.