Will Indian rowers witness a change in fortunes in Jakarta?
Rowing is one of the sport that have flown, or rather floated under the squabble between the Rowing federation and Army. But now, the dust has settled between two, at least for while, as the new-look nationsâ€™s best rowers aim to make a big splash at the 2018 Asian Games.
Romanian Nicolae Gioga has an opportunity to bring the countryâ€™s best medal haul in rowing at the 2018 Asian Games which starts on August 18 in Indonesia, but first it will be about getting a glimpse of the progress â€“ Â timing and adopt that intense, aggressive assault of the new coaching method.
Expectations are high and rightly so, but the progression has been very positive so far. The Indian rowers will have a chance to make a big splash in Jakarta.
Gioga ‘s arrival
Animosity has clouded the federation over the past couple of years and has led to a toxic atmosphere around the rowers, but there is more positivity going into the Asian Games.
Romanian Nicolae Gioga who joined the Indian team in December last year has set a target of winning a medal in all the menâ€™s categories at the Asian Games.
Known for his unconventional training methods, Gioga helped Iran win their first gold medal at the world U-23 championship and see a women rower qualify for the Rio Olympics, in his earlier job.
A new face is what the sport have needed for far too long and it’s one of the reason to be excited about as he promised to end the countryâ€™s gold medal drought at the Asian level. Yet, it should be seen as a fresh start, and it’ll be intriguing to see how the rowers fare with new ideas.
Story so far
The best performance of the Indian rowing team in terms of medal tally was the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games where they won five medals including a gold, three silver and a bronze.
Bajrang Lal Thakur gave India first gold in Single sculls event, will be looking for his second in Jakarta.
Dattu Baban Bhokanal
Tejash Shinde Hanamant
Sono Laxmi Narayan
Coaches: Gioga Nicolae, Ismail Baig, Saji Thomas, K. Mujeeb Rahman, Rajendra Pralhad Shelke.
Best medal hopes
Dattu Bhokanal has been India’s best-performed rower at the Rio Olymic Games where he finished a creditable 13th, the best showing by an Indian rower in an Olympics.
He will be poised to win the gold in single sculls event, in which he bagged silver in the Asian Championships in 2015. He is also in the frame to take part in the quadruple sculls and doubles sculls.
Dushyant Chauhan, who won bronze medal at the previous edition, has been laid low by a serious knee injury but has regained his form and fitness. He is expected to lead Indiaâ€™s challenge in the lightweight sculls events.
A new-comer, but would be one of the stories of the Games if Yamini Singh could bring countryâ€™s first gold in womenâ€™s category at her first ever major tournament.
The 19-year-old is the youngest in the squad given her given excellent performance in national competitions. Last year, she has won silver medals in the Golden and Senior Open National Championships.
Indiaâ€™s brightest hopes for Asain Games aren’t all about individuals with team sports promising to contribute to the expected medal haul.
What to expect
At the last outing in Incheon, India had a three bronze medal China and Japan are expected to dominate the field with Kazakhstan and South Korea also likely to pose stiff challenge.
Traditionally, India fared well in the sweeping events (coxed eight, coxless pair, coxless four) but by the current form, the tide has been turning and they have great scullers in the line-up all will be vying to go for more and the menâ€™s team more likely to take medals in all the categories and probably have the chance better theirÂ previous medal records of five.
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Source: Matchday Frolics