The Indian rowers staged twin comebacks to bag two bronze medals and sign off their Asian Games campaign with a total of five medals here on Monday.
India bettered their medal count from the last edition when they had three podium finishes. However, they failed to win a gold medal this time, something the rowing squad could boast of five years ago.
Overall, India finished fifth here, an improvement of one place from their 2018 outing in Indonesia. Hosts China topped the tally with 11 gold and two silver medals, while Uzbekistan finished second with two gold, four silver and one bronze.
The day began with the quartet of Jaswinder Singh, Bheem Singh, Punit Kumar and Ashish Goliyan narrowly missing a silver in the men’s fours event.
Then the men’s quadruple sculls team of Satnam Singh, Parminder Singh, Jakar Khan and Sukhmeet Singh finished third on the podium with a timing of 6:08.61 seconds.
The quadruple skulls quartet improved from fourth place to finish third in the final 500m of the 2000m race. In the men’s fours event too, the Indians showed superb coordination to rise from fourth position and finish third with 6:10.81s.
Indian rower Balraj Panwar, however, missed out on a maiden Asian Games podium, finishing fourth in the men’s single sculls.
The Indian rowing team’s head coach, Ismail Baig, couldn’t be happier with the haul. The target now is to earn as many qualification slots as possible for the Paris Olympics in the upcoming events.
“We won five medals in such a tough competition, which is a big thing. Now we will be able to return to India with pride. I am feeling very relieved but the process of
hard work will not stop now,” Baig said.
India sent the largest sailing contingent this year (33 athletes and 10 support staff).
“Now we will prepare for the Paris Olympics, the qualifiers of which will probably be held in Korea in April next year. The competition is very tough but we have
qualified every time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics and we will maintain this record,” Baig added.
With inputs from PTI