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Rowing their way to silver

When the rowing team left for China, all it had was old boats -- bought way back in 2002, and a few which the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) had borrowed from the Army. Anupma Tripathi reports.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2010 23:52 IST
Anupma Tripathi

When the rowing team left for China, all it had was old boats -- bought way back in 2002, and a few which the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) had borrowed from the Army.

Interestingly, as the team competes at Guangzhou's International Rowing Centre, HT has learnt that spanking new equipment is awaiting clearance in Hyderabad.

Yet, the rowers gave the nation a reason to smile by bagging two silver on Thursday. First, it was the men's four team -- Anil Kumar, Saji Thomas, Ranjit Singh and Jenil Krishnan -- which did the nation proud, and later, the lightweight four event team -- Lokesh Kumar, Manjeet Singh, Rajesh Kumar Yadav and Satish Joshi -- emulated the feat in the final. The first men's four event clocked 6:16.79 over 2000m. The second team clocked 6:13.32.

"We fielded players in nine events and all of them have entered into the final," Shri Ram, RFI secretary, told HT from Guangzhou.

"The team had been practicing with their old boats, which are in good condition. Our boys didn't face any problem," he said. "Even if we had got the new boats I don't know whether we could have used them."

But KP Singh Deo, former president of RFI, when asked, said, "The federation had ordered 10 boats from the world-renowned company, Filippi, two years ago, and now when they've reached India, the equipment couldn't reach the rowers. The boats are still in Hyderabad. The federation decided to borrow the boats as renting equipment in China would have proved to be an expensive affair. The boats are in good condition."

When asked whose fault it was, Shri Ram said there was some problem in the other departments. "As far as the sports ministry is concerned, it has been very helpful. The ministry supported us right through out and the orders were place on time."

Ram said some complications in procuring the equipment from Italy delayed the process.