first_imgBajrang Lal Takhar is happy that his gold medal at the Guangzhou Asian Games has brought the neglected sport of rowing into the limelight.The armyman had won a silver at the Doha Asian Games as well but Takhar was never mentioned as one of the gold medal prospects as the Indian contingent left for China.”Rowing was not considered a major sport in India before the Asian Games.But now, it can no longer be ignored,” Takhar said on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony. Apart from his gold medal in the single sculls event, India also came back with three silver and a bronze from the rowing competition.Men’s four, lightweight men’s four and men’s eight added silver medals to India’s kitty while the women’s pair event was the one which brought a bronze medal.What made the unexpected medal haul all the more creditable was that it was achieved with eight-year-old boats that put the Indians at a disadvantage even before the competition started. The new boats that had been ordered were stuck with customs but Takhar said the problem has been resolved now.”We have got the new boats and that will help us to improve our performances further.” Takhar pointed out that there was still a significant gap between his timing and that of the top rowers at the international level. That needs to be bridged if India hopes for top honours at the 2012 London Olympics.”There is still a gap of eight seconds between my timing in Guangzhou and the gold medalwinning time at the Beijing Olympics.advertisement”Two or three seconds can be made up with the arrival of modern boats. There is still one-and-a-half years left for the London Olympics and we can work towards bridging the remaining five seconds,” he said.The European countries are the ones dominant in the sport, especially Norway these days.” After his achievement in Guangzhou, the Rowing Federation of India has given Takhar a free hand in devising his own schedule in the lead-up to the 2012 mega event. “The federation has left it for me to decide. The training regimen is yet to be finalised. I am resting right now after the strenuous training schedule for the Asian Games.”We may continue training in Hyderabad as we did before the Asiad. If we need some foreign exposure, it will most likely be in Germany. Next year will have the world championship qualifiers and I will also have to prepare for those as Olympic berths will be available there. The venue and dates are still undecided.”last_img

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