Heartbreak for Indian rowers after favourites flop at Asian Games
By Bharat Sharma
(Eds: Updating with more details)
Palembang, Aug 23 (PTI) The Indian rowing contingent had a disastrous day at the Asian Games, having missed out on as many as four medals including in fancied events like men's single sculls and double sculls here.
Gold contender Dattu Bhokanal was a major disappointment as he finished sixth and last in the single sculls final, clocking 8:28.56. He was consistently within the seven-minute mark in the run-up to the Games and his performance even in the Heats was nowhere close to his below par effort today.
The fact that he had given up in the middle of the race had chief coach Ismail Baig fuming. The gold, silver and bronze went to China, Korea and Japan respectively.
When asked what went so horribly wrong in the 2km race, Bhokanal said: "I don't want to give any excuse. It just did not go as per plan. I have still got one more event to go."
The other members of the contingent said Bhokanal has not been keeping well and that could be the reason for the drastic drop in performance.
"Even last night, he had fever. This result is really surprising. He was the favourite to win gold," said a team member.
More heartbreak was in store in the double sculls where the combination of the seasoned Sawarn Singh and Om Prakash were favourites to win gold. Sawarn, who had won a single sculls bronze in the 2014 edition, and Prakash, had a 1.3 second lead after 1000 metres.
But the teams from Uzbekistan, China and Thailand timed their acceleration better and surged past the Indians in the final 150 metres, leaving Sawarn and Prakash devastated in fourth spot.
While Sawarn and Prakash ended up being a second slower than the bronze medallists, Malkeet Singh and Gurinder Singh lost the bronze to Japan by the tiniest of margins in men's pair.
They clocked 7:10.86 while the Japanese timed 7:10.53. The gold and silver was won by China and Uzbekistan.
India was fourth even in the men's lightweight four and were almost five seconds slower than the bronze winning team from Uzbekistan. The gold and silver went to China and Indonesia respectively.
It was a forgettable day for the Indians but medals are expected even tomorrow