On Friday, at the International Rowing Centre, the Indian rowing team was one happy group.
No jealousy, no heartburn, no rancour.
The happy bunch has stayed together in Hyderabad for years and has learnt to share the joys and pains.
“The secret of our success has been our closeness. We never let each other down either in our camp or when we are on a mission abroad,” said Jenil Krishnan, who has been to three Asian Games and was part of the silver medal-winning team in men's eight.
“When Takhar was included in the camp in 2002, he didn't even know how to swim, but today he is an Asian Games gold-medallist. We all feel we have won gold,” said the veteran rower.
“The small high performance centre we have made all by ourselves in Hyderabad couldn't have come up without everybody chipping in. We share our prize-money, resources and whatever we can give to the centre, so that all of us grow together,” said Satish Joshi, another member of the silver medal-winning team.
“Things were very difficult when we started off. We have got in more rowers, imported boats and other equipment, bought refrigerators, microwave ovens and other daily use gadgets, gym equipment, etc, so that all of us have a comfortable living,” says national coach, Ismail Baig.
“When the boats for the Asian Games didn't arrive on time, we made a collective effort to ensure that eight of them were shipped to Guangzhou in time for the Games. The Army lent us four boats. We had a couple of boats — imported before the 2002 Busan Asian Games — leased out by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Together, we all made it happen,” said Bajrang Lal Takhar.
“We prepare our own food and do not rely on contractors, we do not have masseurs or physiotherapists. So, each one has taken up the responsibility of doubling up as one,” says Takhar.