The Indian rowing contingent showed a magnificent display of grit and teamwork as it redeemed itself by winning three medals, including a historic gold in quadruple sculls, on the final day of the competition at the 18th Asian Games in Palembang.
The never-say-die spirit was visible in all the Indian rowers and all being army men, most of them from humble background, in their entire event. The rowers had to overcome an unexpected and disastrous outing yesterday, when they were in contention for four medals, to ensure that India doesn’t return home empty handed.
“Yesterday 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 a karo ya maro (do or die). And we did it,” Sawarn Singh, senior most member of the gold-winning quadruple sculls team told media.
He not only pushed beyond his limits but his words of encouragement helped hire a new feel of jest and power among his teammates, including Dattu Baban Bhokanal, who had given up midway into his single sculls race yesterday after starting as the favourite.
The other members of the triumphant team were Sukhmeet Singh, who like Sawarn is from Mansa district in Punjab, and Om Prakash.
Like Bhokanal, Sawarn and Prakash also suffered a heartbreak yesterday, missing out on the bronze in the men’s double sculls. But all of them were able to turn it around in less than 24 hours.
Dushyant Chauhan defended his third place in the event and subsequently won a bronze medal in lightweight single sculls at Incheon.
India won another bronze in men’s lightweight double sculls under Bhagwan Singh and Rohit Kumar leadership.
Bhagwan, who is now an experienced rower, gave his all quite literally. The energy sapping dash in the final 500 metres let him being carried on a stretcher to the medical centre. So drained was Bhagwan at the end of the event 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.