Updated: July 23, 2013 00:32 IST

Soldiering on gamely despite the odds

A. Joseph Antony
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Jasvir Singh. Photo: Ch. Suresh Kumar
Jasvir Singh. Photo: Ch. Suresh Kumar

A time lag took a toll on Jasvir Singh’s talents. At the peak of his prowess, he had no real mentor, and expert guidance arrived perhaps a bit late.

His powers maybe on the wane after a devastating jetty accident required removal of a knee ligament. In a way, caught between the devil and the deep sea, he can neither go the whole hog when competing in Laser Standard races nor prepare for them as vigorously as he would want to with strength training.

Lesser sportsmen would have been crushed by such a fate, but the six-foot three-inch tall yachtsman from Aklia Jalal village near Bathinda, Punjab, refuses to be defeated by his disabilities. Inspiring him is Beijing Olympics champion Paul ‘Golden Goodie’ Goodison.

“He is not tall or heavy,” says Jasvir of traits typically expected of those handling the full rig. “Yet, he has won the 2009 World and European championships, that’s testimony to his tactical acumen,” Jasvir notes.

Jasvir had much to learn from Dan Slater, the Army Yachting Node coach. “His inputs on wind strategy and boat speed have been very useful,” says Jasvir.

Talking of the methods of the New Zealander, a two-time Laser Standard champion himself, Jasvir says: “The monotony of daily training is broken with a day off mid-week.”

He makes up for limited international exposure by reading, watching videos and looking up sailing-related material on the internet.

“At least a week’s acclimatisation at international competition venues is a must, instead of the two days that most Indian contingents get. They are spent searching for accommodation or restaurants serving food that is affordable and suited to the Indian palate,” he says.

Jasvir’s views are borne out by experience. Accustomed to the warmth of the tropics, it is not just the weather but also the icy cold water that they sail in when racing in Europe that adds to the challenge.

Slater, a double Olympian for New Zealand in the Finn class, backs him to the hilt though. “Jasvir’s the most dominant in the Laser Standard set, thus leaving him with little competition. His participation in big fleets at four or five foreign international events will do wonders for his career,” says Slater.

Keywords: Jasvir Singhsailing

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