Despite giving their best, Indian duo Arvind Singh and Arun Lal Jat finished sixth in the men’s lightweight double sculls semifinal event at the Sea Forest Waterway rowing course in Tokyo on Wednesday. Since the top three advance to the final, the Indian rowing team will now compete for 7 to 12 positions on Thursday, said team coach Ismail Baig.
“Both Arvind and Arun gave their life best in the semis on Wednesday. They clocked 6 minutes 6 minutes 24.41 seconds but finished sixth and last in the semis. Post semifinal race, I’ve told them to fight for a good position on Thursday,” Ismail said of Thursday's plan for the race.
Of the top six teams in the semifinal race on Wednesday, the leading three booked a place in the final. Ireland, Italy, and Belgium move into the final from the semifinal race.
The young rowing team from the Army, which finished sixth in the semis, had a good start and was lying third halfway through the race. However, they slowed down in the last 500m stretch of the 2000m course, according to the coach of the national team.
“Arvind and Arun had a good start and were lying in third position at the 1000m mark of the 2000m course. But it became a bit difficult to sustain efforts in the second half of the race due to windy conditions. Since they didn’t train in windy conditions back home, our team wasn’t able to tame the conditions and drifted away from third spot to sixth place,” explained the coach.
Indian rowing team coach wants the players to do their best tomorrow
Ismail said the strategy for the final race on Thursday is to go all out.
The Indian team clocked the next 6 minutes 40.33 seconds in the heats to enter the round. A time of 6 minutes 51.36 seconds in the second round enabled the Indian team to advance into the semifinal stage.
“It’s like a do and die situation for us. It is the last race of the Olympics. I’ve have told the boys to give their best. The experience gained in tough weather conditions will help them in future,” added the coach.
After a hard semifinal race, the Indian rowers went back to Games Village. They used ice-packs to relax their muscles. After that, they had their meal and took a short nap to prepare themselves for another tough match on Thursday.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Indian men’s lightweight double sculls team finished in the 18th spot. Arvind and Arun's performance will be the best ever result for an Indian team at the Olympics, regardless of their results in the 7-12th position competition on Thursday.
“As a team both Arvind and Arun have given a good account of themselves at the Olympics. But I’ve told them I’m not satisfied with their performance so that they get charged up for Thursday’s race. Hope it works,” said the coach from Tokyo.