Asian Games: Indian rowers row to glory with two silver and one bronze in Hangzhou

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Hangzhou, September 24 (IANS) A few months back Indian rower Arvind Singh was not sure whether he would be able to participate in the Asian Games in Hangzhou because of a serious lower-back injury that threatened to hamper his progress following he and his partner Arjun Lal Jat had made the world take note of their talent by reaching the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics.

But a month-long session with a physio associated with the Indian Army helped him recover and on Sunday he and Arjun Lal Jat bagged silver in the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls, India's first medal in rowing at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

What made it a memorable day for Indian rowing was that the Men's Coxed Eight also won silver while Babu Lal Yadav and Lekh Ram claimed a bronze medal as the rowers made a big splash at the 19th Asian Games by bagging three medals on the penultimate day of rowing competitions at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre.

Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat set the ball rolling for India in the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls event when they completed the course in a timing of 6 minutes 28.18 seconds, finishing behind the Chinese duo -- Junje Fan and Man Sun, who crossed the finish line in 6:23.16. Uzbekistan's Shakhzod Nurmatov and Sobirjon Safaroumov won the bronze medal in 6:32.47.

With Arjun Lal Jat at the bow and Arvind Singh at the stroke, the Indian pair was placed second at the 500m mark, completing it in 1:33.80 and maintaining themselves just 0.70 seconds behind the Chinese pair in the lead.

By the 1000m mark, the Chinese pair had extended the lead but the Indians maintained their gap with the Uzbekistan pair.

By the 1500 marker, the writing was on the wall as the Chinese continued to extend their lead while the Indians maintained their second position, keeping the Uzbekistan rowers at bay.

That's how they crossed the finish line as India started their campaign with a silver medal.

The Men's Coxed Eight added more lustre to the performance when the team won a silver medal.

The Indian team of Jaswinder Singh, Bheem Singh, Punit Kumar, Ashish, Naresh Kalwaniya, Neeraj, Neetish Kumar, Charanjeet Singh and Dhananjay Pande won the silver medal in Men's Coxed Eight while Babu Lal Yadav and Lekh Ram won bronze medal in the Men's Pair events on Sunday, taking the Indian tally in rowing to three medals on the day.

In the Men's Coxed Eight, India finished in a timing of 5:43.01, ending behind China at 5:40.17 and ahead of Indonesia who finished third at 5:45.51.

The Indian Eight completed the 500m at 1:24.94, trailing the Chinese by 2.18 seconds. They maintained the gap in the next 500 metres and cut down the gap to 2.20 seconds when they crossed the 1500m mark in 4:16.59. The Chinese duo however made a final push to extend the gap to 2.54 seconds at the finish line.

In the Men's Pair, India's Babu Lal Yadav and Lekh Ram finished third in 6:50.14. Hong Kong China bagged the gold medal in 6:44.20 with Uzbekistan taking silver in 6:48.41. The Indians ran the Uzbekistan pair close but in the end, could not manage to get any closer.

With this India finished the penultimate day in rowing competition with two silver and one bronze.

In the men's Double Sculls, India's Satnam Singh and Parminder Singh finished sixth and last in Final A with a timing of 6:40.90. China won the gold in 6:21.54, Uzbekistan took silver in 6:26.64 and Indonesia got bronze in6:27.83.

In the Women's Four final, India's Aswathi Babu, Mrunmayee, Priya Devi and Rukmani finished fifth in 7:12.40. Indians figured in five finals on Sunday and won medals in three of them. On the final day of the competitions on Monday, Indian rowers will take part in four finals.