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Indian rowers face a daunting task in Beijing

Beijing, Aug 8: The modest trio of Bajrang Lal (single scull), Manjeet Singh and Devender Kumar (light weight double sculls) will attempt to keep themselves afloat in the competition and will try not to get eliminated in the preliminary stages of the Olympic Rowing competition starting here tomorrow.

For the first time, India will be competing in two rowing events in the Olympics. And Rajputana Rifles Bajrang Lal is the most promising rower among the three who are here to represent the country.

Coached by Dronacharya Awardee Ismail Baig, the army men - Bajrang, Manjeet and Devender - are modest about their hopes, ''It is definitely going to be very tough but all that we can say is that we will give of our best,'' said Bajrang.

The trio has trained on hard waters in Hyderabad, and that should make their job a lot more easier because in the pollution-free Shanghai Lake where the competitions is to be held as they will get a chance to race faster (it is hard to row on polluted waters which make the boats slower).

Bajrang was of the view that given a bit of luck and favourable conditions, ''we will be able to meet the challenge of the Asians and the Africans,'' but added that he hopes to be at his best against the formidable Europeans and the hosts.

''National pride will be the main inspiration for all of us,'' said the 2006 Asian Games silver medallist.

According to Manjeet and Devender, ''Olympic is a huge event, to take part in it is itself a great achievement.'' They said all three of them were fully aware of the tough task they have ahead, ''World's best rowers are here and we will row our hearts out. The Games are different proposition in terms of the high standards of competition.'' ''The Olympic experience will enrich us and we will go back as more mature rowers,'' they said adding ''We are humbled by the fact that we are representing our country at this level of competition.'' Ismail Baig was modest in his assessment saying it is going to be hard and tough, ''We achieved our first aim by qualifying for Olympics.

''The boys know that they are under no pressure. They have nothing to lose so any extraordinary display here will be a tremendous boost for Indian rowing,'' he added.


Read more about: rowing
Story first published: Friday, August 8, 2008, 13:34 [IST]
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