Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat are headed for choppy waters. Not just because they will be making their Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, which begins on July 23, but because the rowing event will be held at Sea Forest Waterway, which is expected to be a lot more robust than the conditions they are used to.
“Yes, the rough waters of the course, which is very close to the sea, are a major challenge for Indian rowers as we have been training on flat waters in Pune,” their coach Ismail Baig was quoted as saying by The Hindu in July.
“And, unfortunately, we cannot move out to any other centre in India because of the strict quarantine rules.”
Arvind and Arjun, who will compete in the lightweight double sculls event, have been training in the Army Training Node in Pune under the watchful eye of Baig, who has been instrumental in their fast-track entry into the Olympics.
Neither of the rowers knew about the sport, or of Olympics, till four years ago. It was only during their time with the Services that they were introduced to the sport. The 24-year-old Arvind hails from a small village of Khabra in Uttar Pradesh, while Arjun, 25, is from Nayabas village, Rajasthan.
Ever since they joined forces in 2017, the duo has risen quickly through the ranks. They won a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Championships. They qualified for the Olympics by winning a silver medal at the Asia and Oceania Olympic continental qualification regatta in May. The pair covered the distance of 2000m in 6:36.92, which was well under the qualifying mark.
The event was also held at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo.
“We didn’t have any problem in adapting to the conditions which were quite okay then but are told will be different for the Games competition – more rough and extremely challenging,” Arvind said.
They have been doing three training sessions every day in a bio-bubble in Pune to get into the best shape for their first Olympics.
“Well, being the first Olympics for both of us, we are definitely excited as not many get the chance to be there,” Arjun said.
“Our first target is to make it to the B-final featuring the top 12 teams and then look ahead. We don’t want to invite any sort of pressure.” They will be the only two Indians in the rowing event at Tokyo 2020.
When will Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat be seen at Tokyo 2020?
Arvind and Arjun will be seen in action in the heats of the men’s lightweight double sculls event on Saturday, July 24.