India's best rowers on 'test' in senior nationals in Pune

February 19, 2023

Pune, Feb 18 (IANS) With a little over eight months remaining for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, Indian rowers are all set to chop the waters at Army Rowing Node in the College of Military Engineering (CME) campus when the 40th Senior and 24th Open Sprint National Rowing Championship unfolds from February 22.

India’s only international-standard rowing facility will be the theatre to host over 500 rowers from 25 affiliated states and units striving to make a mark at the Rowing Federation of India’s event.

The aim is to impress the coaches and officials ahead of the Asian Games and qualifying events for next year’s Paris Olympics.

Organising Secretary, Col R Ramakrishnan said, “We are glad to host the crème de la crème of our country’s rowers. As a true believer of ‘the best deserving the best,’ ARN with the facility is always out to support,” he said.

The participants for this edition include a host of Olympians and Asian and National champions, the organisers informed in a release on Saturday.

The main highlight, however, will be the 2020 Tokyo Olympics duo Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh, who became the first double scullers from India to reach the semifinals. The pair recently clinched gold at the 2022 Asian Rowing Championship in Thailand.

Likewise, other medallists from the Asian Championship — Sukhmeet Singh and Jakar Khan (Double sculls, Silver), Jasveer Singh, Iqbal Singh, Akshat Tanwar, Charanjeet Singh (LightWeight Coxless Fours, Silver); Jaswinder Singh, Bheem Singh, Punit Kumar, Ashish — will also line up for starting orders.

RFI Secretary General, MV Sriram, explained that the championship will also serve to keenly observe the performances of the probable Indian rowers stationed at ARN.

“Our preparations, with a core group of 25-30 rowers, began long back,” he said and explained, “we began our preparations in accordance with the initial dates of the Asian Games which, initially, was scheduled for 2022 (September-October).”

Sriram added, “we had one camp at Bhopal as well. But yes, the championship will be a pitching ground to add or delete from the group.”

“Looking forward to some excellent rowing in this championship from the best in India,” he said.

The championship will be held over 2000 metres and 500 metres for both men and women respectively.

For the men, the events are single sculls, double sculls, coxless pairs, and coxless fours (all in 2000m and 500m). Open double sculls, coxless fours and coxed eights will be held in only 2000m for the male rowers. The first two events will be for civilians only.

Similarly, for women, single sculls, double sculls, coxless pairs, and coxless fours will be held in 2000m and 500m. Double sculls mixed event (500m) and para-men single sculls (200m and 500m) will also be organised.

The ARN, which became operational in 2009, will be hosting the Senior Nationals for the fourth time. Back in 2014, ARN hosted the inaugural Championship, then the 37th edition in 2018 which was followed by the 39th edition.

The championship for the second consecutive year has received a shot in the arm with the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) stepping in to co-host the event with multiple support.



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