Rowing is a water game mostly popular in southern states of the country, but now-a-days, Punjabi youth are venturing into it under coaching by armymen.
Rowing was never a part of sports culture of Punjab, but players from Punjab Swarn Singh, Manjit Singh, Jasveer Singh
and Davinder Singh won medals for the country in rowing at the international level, whereas Jagdev Singh, Gurinder Singh and Daljeet Singh and Bhagwan Singh earned medals at the national level. All these players started rowing after selection in the army and flourished their skills under army coaches.
These players played other games earlier but did not have any achievement worth flaunting, but after shifting to rowing, they are performing better at all levels. Good height, strong physique and good stamina are the basic physical requirements for rowing. The army's sports specialists selected these Punjabi sportspersons for rowing as they found basic physical qualities needed for rowing in them.
Swarn Singh, Manjit Singh, Jasveer Singh, and Davinder Singh were recently chosen for the selection camp of the Indian team being held at Pune (Maharashtra).
Jasveer Singh, Jagdev Singh and Bhagwan Singh belong to Bathinda district whereas Swarn Singh is from neighbouring district Mansa. Jasveer Singh from Laleana village of Bathinda said that he was selected in the Boys Sports Company of the army's Bengal Engineer Group where he shifted his game from athletics to rowing.
He was a state winner in shot put and discus throw at the sub junior level, but army coaches selected him for rowing and he had won three medals at the Asian rowing championships. He further stated that he would not have been able to achieve that level, had he not been selected for the army. Jasveer participated in the National Games for Uttrakhand state as he used to stay at the army's Bengal Engineer Group, Roorkee.
Jagdev Singh stated that at the National Games, Punjab participated in only a few water sports events. There is a lot of potential for rowing in Punjab but facilities are quit inadequate. Infrastructure for rowing could be developed with the help of army coaches as there are many places which are suitable for rowing. He further said, "We are eight rowing players from Punjab who had achievements at the international and national levels, but we achieved all that after joining the army."
These players demanded that the Punjab government should develop infrastructure and facilities for rowing sport in Punjab. For example, at Bathinda lakes, rowing could be started at the initial level for 500 meter events and events of 2km could be started at Harike wetland as there is a big scope for the development of rowing sport in Punjab.