Monday, 30th October 2017

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Gold for Calcutta boys at the end of nail-biting rowing race

City duo shine in national rowing championship in Pune

By Debraj Mitra in Calcutta
  • Published 1.07.19, 3:22 AM
  • Updated 1.07.19, 3:22 AM
  • 2 mins read
Savyasachi and Devaang during a practice session at The Bengal Rowing Club Telegraph picture

Two city boys, one of them just three months into the sport, have clinched the lone gold for Bengal in the sub-junior national rowing championship that took place in Pune earlier in June.

Devaang Shah, 13, and Savyasachi Avay Seth, 12, won gold in the boys’ double scull (under-13) event, where each rower has two oars.

In a nail-biting final race on the Army Rowing Node on June 11, the two completed the 500-metre course just ahead of the Telangana team.

The two teams were separated by less than a second. Devaang and Savyasachi clocked 1:43:88 (one minute, 43 seconds and 88 milliseconds). The Telangana team finished the course in 1:44:56.

“Our boat was in the fourth position for some time. We picked up speed and started leading. But the Telangana team was catching up fast and at one point of time, it got really close. We just focused on giving our 100 per cent,” said Devaang, a Class VIII student of La Martiniere for Boys.

Devaang’s tryst with the oars began in March this year, when he participated in a camp to promote rowing for children at The Bengal Rowing Club.

Teammate Savyasachi started rowing in 2017. His father Kartick Seth regularly played water polo in the Paddapukur Lake while living in Bhowanipore. After shifting to Kasba, he regularly took Savyasachi and his two elder sisters to the Rabindra Sarobar Lakes for morning walks.

Savyasachi Avay Seth and (right) Devaang Shah after winning gold in the sub-junior national rowing championship in Pune
Savyasachi Avay Seth and (right) Devaang Shah after winning gold in the sub-junior national rowing championship in Pune (Sourced by correspondent)

When Savyasachi told his father of his wish to start rowing, the businessman took him to The Bengal Rowing Club.

Savyasachi, who loves listening to Arijit Singh’s melodies in his leisure time, won gold in single scull (under13) in the state rowing championship in April.

Devaang, who lives in Alipore, won bronze in double scull (under13) in the same competition.

Devaang’s father, also a businessman, plays tennis at the South Club and keeps egging him on to do well in sports. When free, Devaang loves to watch craft videos on YouTube.

For a month before the national tournament, the two practised in two shifts — three hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

The morning session started at 5.30am as the boys had to go to school after that. They also did indoor rowing on ergometers.

“The result is doubly satisfying because the two partnered for the first time in a big tournament. The two are fun-loving kids, but once on the boat, their attitude changes completely,” said Shashi Kumar Singh, a rowing coach at the club who trained the two.