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Rowers keeping their fingers crossed

Getting ready: The Indian rowers are training in Pune under the guidance of chief national coach Ismail Baig, centre.  

The Indian rowing contingent, preparing at the Army Rowing Node (Pune) to take part in the Asian and Oceania Continental Olympic qualifying championship in Tokyo from May 5 to 7, is optimistic that the event will be held as per schedule.

With Delhi under lockdown, there is some anxiety about the visa process being completed on time even as the rowers are training under the guidance of chief National coach and Dronacharya Ismail Baig.

“The Japanese Embassy has agreed to accept the visa applications directly as a special case but due to the lockdown there is a problem submitting the documents,” said Rajlaxmi Singh Deo, president, Rowing Federation of India.

Preparatory mode

The rowers went into the preparatory mode from last October in Pune, where there is a man-made Olympic channel and look at the Tokyo qualifying event as the last one to make the cut for the Olympics though there is another one scheduled at Lucerne, Switzerland, from May 16 to 18.

“It is the Asian meet from which the Indians made it to the last few Olympics and Switzerland event is not on our radar for many reasons,” Baig told The Hindu from Pune.

“We are going ahead with the preparations in a secured bio bubble, assuming that the qualifiers will be on as per schedule. There is no word yet officially either about it being postponed or cancelled.”

Interestingly, the qualifiers will be the first competition for the Indian rowers after last year’s Asian meet.

Without seasoned campaigners — Olympian Dattu Bhokanal (out of contention on disciplinary grounds) and two-time Asiad medallist Sawarn Singh (quitting the sport) — the Indian hopes hinge on an inexperienced men’s squad of Jakar Khan (single sculls), Arjun Lal Jat (double sculls), Arvind Singh (single sculls), Sunil Attri (single and double sculls) and Shantanu Kumar (para).

In Bhopal, the women’s team comprising Khushpreet Kaur (single sculls), Vindhya Sankat (double sculls), Rukmani Dangi (double sculls), and Sona Keer (single and double sculls) is being trained by 1990 Asiad medallist and Arjuna Awardee Dalvir Singh for the Tokyo qualifiers.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 8:58:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/rowers-keeping-their-fingers-crossed/article34369692.ece

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