Dattu Bhokanal continues his fine run of form by finishing second in his C/D semifinal and now qualifies for the 'C' final of the rowing single sculls event at the Rio Olympics. The 25-year-old, who is out of the running for a medal, put in a time of 7:19.02 – far from his best – but lead the race throughout only to lose out in the very final second.
Bhokanal now qualifies for the C final of the single sculls event meaning he'll be fighting for a world ranking between 13 and 18 – an incredible feat for the army man given this is the first time he's taking part in the Olympics.
The semifinal was ultimately won by Hungary's Bendegúz Pétervári-Molnár who overtook Bhokanal with only a handful of meters left in the race. Bhokanal – who set his Olympic best in the quarterfinal with a 6:59.89 – had a usual burst of a start breaking away from everyone in the pack and even leading by more than 3 seconds at the halfway mark.
Bhokanal would've gained nothing by winning his semifinal as the first three all qualify for the C final. There is no particular advantage to winning the event as they're counted as equals come the start of the finals.
Only the 9th ever rower to represent India at the Olympics, Bhokanal has already exceeded expectations by making it this far and proving to us that there is serious talent in this country. All we need to do is encourage sports more and ensure that the ones who deserve it are given the right stage – like Bhokanal who's had horrible family problems over the past couple of years.
Earlier in the week, his brother confirmed that the family are considering selling their house and property to pay for their mother's treatment after she fell down and seriously hurt her head. Let's just hope that Bhokanal finishes in the best ranking possible to ensure he goes home the winner he is.
The rower is already out of contention for a medal at the Games, but this is still a very inspiring show.Published 12 Aug 2016, 21:32 IST