For the first time in the history of the Asian Games, India clinched the gold in the Quadruple Sculls final. The sixth day of the event at the Jakabaring Lake, Indonesia, saw the Indian Quadruple team comprising rowers from the Indian Army go for the gold. This came right after India had settled for two bronzes in the Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls final and Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls final.
The Indian Quadruple members were led by Olympians Swaran Singh and Dattu Bhokanal. The other two were Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh. The team of four finished the first lap in a span of six minutes and 17.3 seconds.
Indonesia and Thailand, finished second and third respectively. On the sixth day, India added its fifth gold to the tally and the rest of the rowing team took the bronze tally to 12 medals.
Out of all the four rowers from the Indian Army, only Bhokanal had previous experience in rowing before joining the Army. However, prior to the tournament, the team was sent to the Pune Army Sports Institute for training.
Bajrang Lal Thakkar got India its first gold in the men’s Single Sculls rowing event in the 2010 Asian Games, Guangzhou, reports The Indian Express.
Speaking to PTI about the win Swarn Singh said,
We had a bad day but the soldiers never give up. I told my teammates that we will go for the gold and we will give it all. It was about karo ya maro (do or die). And we did it.
Apart from the gold medalist rowers, the bronze medalist in the lightweight single sculls Dushyant and the Indian duo who won bronze in the lightweight men’s double sculls, are from the Indian Army.
Rowing in India is not an economically feasible sport considering each boat costs somewhere between ₹7-8 lakh. Hence, the Indian Army takes care of the training and managing the rowing events of national and international competitions, reports Business Standard.