PALEMBANG, Aug 24: The Indian rowing contingent 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 here.
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 from the Jakabaring lake. All Armymen, most of them from humble background, fought with the never-say-die spirit that soldiers are best known for. They pushed their boats as if there was no tomorrow.
�Yesterday we had a bad day but soldiers never give up. I told my team-mates that we will go for the gold and we will give it all. It was about karo ya maro (do or die). And we did it,� Sawarn Singh, senior most member of the gold-winning quadruple sculls team, told PTI.
He not only pushed himself to the limit but his words of encouragement fired up his team-mates, 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, bronze medallist in lightweight single sculls at Incheon, defended his third place in the event.
Courtesy Bhagwan Singh and Rohit Kumar, India won another bronze in men�s lightweight double sculls.
Bhagwan is a son of a truck driver who had to quit journalism in the second year and join Indian Army due to financial issues.
Dushyant, who is now an experienced rower, gave his all quite literally. The energy sapping dash in the final 500 metres led to him being carried on a stretcher to the medical centre. He was so drained out 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. � PTI