Focus The Artillery Water Sports Association is ecstatic after winning eight golds at the National Games in Ranchi
T his should rank easily as the best showing by the kayaking and canoeing teams of the Artillery Water Sports Association (AWSA) ever. In the recent National Games in Ranchi, Jharkhand, the Services team was by far the best, bagging 13 golds and five silvers in 18 events. Of these, eight golds were won by members of the AWSA squad.
Accentuating the achievement further were coaches Havaldhar Antony Joseph and Havaldhar Adam Khan, the former training the Services squad and the latter the Andhra Pradesh team. Both mentors are from the Artillery Centre, Golconda.
In this phenomenal feat, it was a golden treble for James Boy Singh who came up trumps in the C1 1000, 500 and 200 metre races. N. Johnson, another recruit Havaldhar, also hailing from Manipur, played a pivotal role as stock canoeist to steer his quartet to gold in the C4 1000, 500 and 200 metres.
The strapping Havaldhar P. Prasad as backstroke, paddled his kayaking foursome to gold in the K4 1000 and 500 metres, his power and poise paving the way to a golden double. Havaldhars Premananda Singh and Satyavan Singh each struck gold in the K4 1000 and C4 1000 metres respectively.
Johnson, Premananda, Romesh Salam, Oynam Bhakta Singh, James Boy, P. Prasad and Satyavan have been selected for the Indian camp at Bhopal after April 15 in preparation for the Asian Championships. Under Havaldhar Adam Khan's tutelage, the Andhra Pradesh squad, virtually the second string AWSA team, won two silver and three bronze medals.
Havaldhar Antony Joseph has been training the Services squads from 2008 with splendid results. At the National championships at Bhopal earlier this year, his boys claimed a stunning 11 gold medals. Posted along with Subedar Philip Mathew, the duo trained the Services squad at the Salana Lake in Roorkee.
Antony oversaw the AWSA-hosted camp for the National Games at the Hussain Sagar held from January 25 to February this year and acknowledged the encouragement received from Major K.S. Panigrahy, Commandant, Brigadier Prakash S. Nair and other officers.
A. JOSEPH ANTONY