India picked up two bronze medals from the Asian Games rowing arena on Thursday as army man Sawarn Singh Virk rowed his way through exhaustion to the third spot in single sculls before the men’s squad added the eights title.
As the rowing events ended at the ChungjuTangeum Lake International Rowing Centre, India’s modest tally of medals stood at three bronze, the first one having been won yesterday by army man Dushyant Chauhan in men’s lightweight single sculls.
The performance was lower in both quality as well as quantity to the 2010 tally of 1 gold medal, 3 silver and 1 bronze.
Sikh Regiment’s Naik Subedar Sawarn Singh must be complimented for putting up a brave effort. The timing he clocked here to win the bronze covering the 2000m distance (7 minutes, 10.65 seconds), was better than his performance at the London Olympic Games two years ago timing wise (7:29.66).
But the extra effort the 24-year-old former volleyball player put in towards the end when he tried to ward off the challenge from South Korean rival Kim Dongyong, who secured the silver, saw him collapse due to exhaustion. He fell off the boat into the water, and had to be taken out by the rescue team to the ambulance.
“He should be fine. It was just exhaustion which happens to rowers at times. It was a brave effort as he was struck with severe back pain over the last three to six months and we had to work really hard to get him back into shape,” said Rowing Federation of India secretary general M V Sriram.
Sawarn Singh, who is 1.89 metres tall and weighs 88 kg, led the field of six rowers for the first 1 km of the race and was comfortably headed towards the silver, after being overtaken by Iranian gold medallist Mohsen Shadinaghadeh, who clocked 7:05:66.
But it was Korean rower Dongyong, who eventually took the second place in 7:06.17.
Punjab-born Swaran Singh, who had clocked a slower 7:31.88 when he won the gold in the 2013 Asian Championship in China, had come through the repechage to be in the medal race.
“I tried very hard and was even leading but lost the silver over the last 200 metres. I am happy with the medal but cannot say I am thrilled. I feel I would have done better had I not lost some training time due to the back problem I picked up a few months ago and could not train properly,” said Sawarn who trains at Hyderabad.
Later the men picked up the eights team bronze by securing the third position behind gold medal winners China and Japan who crossed the finish line in 1:27.96 and 1:30.39 respectively.
The Indian team of Kapil Sharma, Ranjit Singh, 2010 single sculls gold medal winner Bajrang Lal Takhar, P U Robin, K Sawan Kumar, Mohammad Azad, Maninder Singh, Davinder Singh and Mohammed Ahmed started sluggishly to be trailing in fourth at the halfway stage before making the extra effort to clinch the bronze.