Arvind & Arjun qualify for Games

CHENNAI: “My Aim Asian Games 2022 Gold Medal,” reads Indian rower Arvind Singh’s WhatsApp DP (display picture). But the goal is set to change with Arvind qualifying for the Olympics in the men’s lightweight double sculls event on Friday. He, along with Arjun Lal Jat finished second in the final of the Asia and Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta held in Tokyo, Japan to make the cut.

Three quotas were up for grabs with Japanese rowers finishing first with a timing of 6:34.70. The Indian duo clocked 6:36.92 while Uzbekistan finished third. “Asiad gold is still my aim, but now the priority is Olympics. We will work hard to ensure that we give our best in the Games,” the 25-year-old Arvind told this daily from Tokyo. Both Arvind and Arjun are Naib Subedar with the Indian Army. The similarity doesn’t end here. They are sons of farmers and started rowing only after joining the army. Arvind hails from Bulandshahr, UP while Arjun is from Nayabas in Jaipur.

“I joined the army in 2016. I once went for a rowing event and decided to become a rower after watching participants in action,” said Arvind. Arjun’s story is a bit different as he was handpicked by Bajrang Lal Takhar, India’s first rowing gold medallist in the Asian Games. “I am with Rajputana Rifles regiment in Delhi. After joining in 2015, I decided to pursue rowing and Bajrang sir was impressed with me and picked me for the Delhi team,” said Arjun.

The duo first met in 2017 and started training together the next year at the Army Sports Institute in Pune. The camaraderie, which developed over the next three years, helped them to counter odds to seal an Olympic spot. “We trust and understand each other. This gives us the courage to overcome all difficulties. It was difficult as we all were put under strict restrictions in Tokyo due to the pandemic,” said the duo.

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