In his first international tournament in single sculls, India’s Arvind Singh struck gold. The Olympian clocked 7.55.942 minutes to clinch the gold medal in lightweight men’s single sculls at the Asian Rowing Championships in Pattaya, Thailand on Sunday.
The 25-year-old’s latest triumph, however, was rooted in lack of options.
Singh had made his Olympic debut when he and Arjun Lal Jat competed in the lightweight men’s doubles sculls at Tokyo 2020. But when the rowers came back to national camp after a break of almost 45 days following the Olympics, his partner had put on a little weight.
“For double sculls, we both have to weigh around 70kg but Arjun gained weight during the break,” Singh was quoted saying by the New Indian Express.
“I also wanted to try my hand at single sculls so I took it as a challenge and trained hard in Pune.”
The rower from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, who had taken up the sport only in 2016, put in the work at his training base, the Army Rowing Node, in Pune to prepare for the continental event. The effort seemed to pay off as he crossed the finish line well ahead of his nearest rivals at the Royal Thai Navy Rowing Center in Rayong. Uzbekistan's Sobirjon Safaroliyev won the silver with a timing of 7.58.397 minutes while China’s Weichun Chen clocked 8.10.043 minutes to claim bronze.
“It was windy that's why I took more time than usual but in the end, I managed to clinch gold,” Singh explained.
It was one of the most successful editions for India at the Asian Rowing Championships as the country won a total of six medals. They had sent a contingent of 16 rowers, across six categories, for the event.
“We were not even sure whether the rowers would be able to compete in the event because of Covid,” Rajlaxmi Singh Deo, president of Rowing Federation of India, said.
“The men's team landed there just 48 hours before the competition started. So given the difficulties we faced, it was really a successful and memorable campaign for us.”