Palembang: The Indian rowing contingent redeemed themselves by winning three medals, including a historic gold in quadruple sculls, on the final day of the competition at the Asian Games here, Friday.
The rowers had to overcome an unexpected and disastrous outing Thursday, when they were in contention for four medals, but missed out. It was left to Friday’s rowers to ensure that India don’t return home empty handed from Jakabaring lake.
“Yesterday (Thursday) we had a bad day but soldiers never give up. I told my teammates that we will go for the gold and we will give it all. It was about karo ya maro (do or die). And we did it,” Sawarn Singh, senior most member of the gold winning quadruple sculls team, said.
He not only pushed himself to the limit but his words of encouragement fired up his teammates, including Dattu Baban Bhokanal, who had given up midway into his single sculls race Thursday after starting as favourite. The other members of the triumphant team were Sukhmeet Singh and Om Prakash.
Dushyant Chauhan, bronze medallist in lightweight single sculls at Incheon, defended his third place in the event. Courtesy Bhagwan Singh and Rohit Kumar, India won another bronze in men’s lightweight double sculls.
Dushyant, who is an experienced rower, gave his all quite literally. The energy sapping dash in the final 500 metres led to him being carried on a stretcher to the medical centre. He was so drained out that he could not stand properly during the medal ceremony. Minutes later he threw up, prompting the doctors to rush him to the medical centre.
“I pushed as if it was the last race of my life. That was the only thing in the mind. May be I pushed a bit too hard but it was worth it. I had a bad cold and throat in the run up to the event. That also affected me a lot. I was virtually gone,” said Dushyant, who had not eaten much in the morning ahead of the race as they all have to maintain weight (72kg).
“I just had two breads and an apple. It was very hot also. That is why I was completely dehydrated,” added the 25-year-old who lives in Gurgaon.
The gold was also India’s second at the Asian Games rowing, the first being Bajrang Lal Thakkar’s in 2010.