Winning six medals, two of them gold, at the two-day Asian Rowing Championships that concluded on Sunday in Thailand’s Rayong watercourse, turned out to be an excellent international exposure tour, India’s chief rowing coach Ismail Baig said.
“In the last two years due to pandemic there wasn’t sufficient international exposure. I’m happy that the Asian Rowing Championship took place. It turned out to be an excellent platform for the national team as we won six medals,” the chief coach told Sportskeeda from Thailand on Monday.
Arjun Lal Jat and Ravi claimed gold in men’s double sculls, while Arvind Singh took gold in men’s lightweight single sculls.
Parminder Singh bagged silver in the men’s single sculls, while Ashish Phugat and Sukhjinder Singh won silver in men’s lightweight double sculls.
The men’s quadruple sculls team also won silver. The team members were Jakar Khan, Manjeet Kumar, Sukhmeet Singh and Bitu Singh.
India also won silver in men’s coxless fours. Jasveer Singh, Punit Kumar, Gurmeet Singh and Charanjeet Singh formed the team.
According to Baig, the performance will be a big motivating factor to keep athletes focused for the 2022 Asian Games in China. At the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, the Indian rowers won three medals, including gold in men’s quadruple. The bronze medals came in men’s single and double sculls.
“Our next goal is to improve our medal tally at the China Asian Games. No doubt it will be a challenging task, but we have adequate time to prepare,” the national coach opined.
All of India's medals in Thailand came in the men’s category. The women’s rowing team failed to win a podium finish despite entering the final of two events.
The women’s rowing team finished fifth in lightweight double sculls and quadruple sculls.
Almost the entire Indian men’s rowing team that participated in Thailand are from the Army.
“Within the Army campus we have watersports facilities, particularly for rowing. It is a big advantage as they get ample opportunity to practice throughout the year,” Baig said. “Whereas being a civilian many don’t get a chance to practice," he added.
The not-so-encouraging performance by the Indian women’s team in Thailand, said the chief coach, was due to a lack of regular practice as there are fewer national camps.
“The rowers in the women’s camp come from different regions of India. They don’t have good rowing facilities back in their region,” Baig explained. “More funds to hold regular national camps will enable the female athletes to practice on a regular basis. Practicing on professional lines will also give the women’s rowing team a chance to showcase their mettle at international competitions," he concluded.