Hyderabad: The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has hit the Indian rowing contingent hard depriving them of participating in many qualifying tournaments. With the Indian contingent either not allowed or officials choosing not to send the contingent, many lost a chance to make the cut for the Tokyo Games.
Only two rowers – Arun Lal and Arvind Singh – will compete in this year’s Olympics. The duo made the cut in the men’s lightweight doubles scull when they finished second in the final race of the Asia/Oceania Continental Qualifying Regatta in Tokyo. Though there were a few Olympic qualifying tournaments scheduled in Italy, Indian rowers could not participate in them owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
India has become a force to reckon with in the continent winning medals at Asian Games. However, their record at the Olympics is not so impressive. No rower ever won a medal for the country yet on the world’s biggest stage. India’s first ever participation in rowing was at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Inderpal Singh and Kasam Khan were the first rowers to compete in the men’s coxless pair. Since Sydney, India had participated in every Games since then.
The duo is being trained by Hyderabad-based national coach Ismail Baig, who will be accompanying the Indian team for his fourth Games. Arun and Arvind face a tough challenge on the waters. Given the highly-competitive field in the Olympics, they duo has to play out of their skin to return with an impressive show. The duo, who forced a partnership in 2019, won a silver medal in the Asian Championships in 2020.
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