Rowers Arjun Jat and Arvind Singh were out of contention for an Olympic medal but created history by becoming the first Indian double sculls pair to make it to the semifinals at the Olympics. The two achieved the feat in Tokyo on Sunday.
“This is the greatest day of my coaching career,” exclaimed coach Ismail Baig.
“Our first target was to finish between 10th and 14th, and we are close to finishing 12th now. This is a remarkable performance given the extremely tough draw,” Ismail told Sportstar.
India’s previous best in men’s double sculls was the 18th- place finish by Manjeet Singh and Sandeep Kumar in London 2012.
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“I told the boys to target one team – Uruguay – and they were able to do it in the last 200m of the race and be in this position,” he said.
“We take pride in being the toppers from Asia and rank alongside the best from the other continents,” said Ismail.
“There will be two semifinals in the A and B groups and three teams from each will make it to the final. We are hoping for the best even though it is really challenging. Honestly, reaching this far is itself a huge achievement,” he added.
“The weather was extremely hot but the water was comfortable for rowing. In fact, Sunday’s race was originally scheduled for tomorrow but rescheduled because of a cyclone forecast,” said Ismail.
“There will be no competition on Monday and even training looks doubtful,” he said.
Ismail and his wards, who have created a storm, can take pride in reaching where no Indians have.