Asia Oceania Olympic Qualifiers Day 1: Indian rowers inch closer to Tokyo Olympics berth

The Indian male rowers stand a great chance to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
The Indian male rowers stand a great chance to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Indian rowers inched closer to their Tokyo Olympics dream as Jakar Khan and the men’s Double Sculls team of Khan, Arjun Jat and Arvind Singh shone at the Asia Oceania Continental Olympic Qualifying Regatta in Tokyo on Thursday.

The event was scheduled to start on Wednesday but tricky local weather conditions forced the organizers to postpone it for a day. This event is also the penultimate chance for the Indians to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics before the Final Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland from May 16 to18.

In the men’s singles sculls, Khan clocked 8.07:32s in Heat 3 to qualify for the semifinal, which is scheduled for Friday. The top three rowers from each of the three Heats qualify automatically for the semifinals, with three more joining them from the Repechage round.

The event also serves as a great opportunity for Khan to secure his Tokyo Olympics berth as the top five rowers among six finalists will guarantee their places for the big-ticket event. It has also been learnt that the Indian contingent did not carry their own equipment due to travel restrictions but instead hired them in Japan.

On the other hand, the men’s Double Sculls Indian team consisting of Khan, Jat and Singh made their way into the final round clocking 7.09:57s. The Indian trio finished second behind hosts Japan in Heat 1 and are just one race away from securing their Tokyo Olympics ticket.

With three quota spots available, the Indian team needs to finish within the top three among six finalists to make their Tokyo Olympics cut. The top two teams from each Heat will qualify for the final, while two more will join from the Repechage round.

Tough job at hand for female Indian rowers in Tokyo Olympics qualifiers

However, unlike their male counterparts, the Indian women didn’t enjoy a good outing during the Heats.

In the women’s single sculls event, India’s Khushpreet Kaur clocked 9.31.66s in Heat 2 to finish a lowly fifth. She now heads to the Repechage round, where Khushpreet needs to finish in the top three among five to make it to the semifinals.

In the women’s Double Sculls, the Indian pair of Rukmani Dangi and Vindhya Sankath finished in fifth position in Heat 1 with a timing of 9.02.17s. Like Khushpreet, the Rukmani-Sankath duo will now compete in the Repechage round for a passage to the final. They need to finish among the top two to enter the summit clash round.

The quota places for women are the same as men.

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Edited by Rohit Mishra