New Delhi, April 30 | In the hope of making the cut for the Tokyo Olympic Games, a 14-member Indian rowing squad, including nine players, boarded a Tokyo-bound flight on Friday to compete in the World Rowing Asia Oceania Continental Olympic and Paralympic Qualifying Regatta.
The competition will be held from May 5 to 7 in Tokyo.
The Indians will start with handicap as Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has prevented them from carrying their own equipment.
“It is going to be a very challenging task as we aren’t allowed to carry our own equipment from India due to coronavirus restrictions. It is always good to have our own equipment for important events like Olympic qualifiers. But we have to follow a long list of Covid-19 SOP,” chief coach Ismail Baig told IANS before taking the flight from Delhi.
According to Baig, Jakar Khan will lead the men’s squad, and he has a good chance to win the Olympic quota in the 2km event.
“He is our best bet in the men’s single scull event. But he has to perform on the given day to achieve his goal of winning an Olympic berth,” said the chief coach.
Arun Lal Jat, Arvind Singh, and Suni Attri are the other rowers in the men’s team. The Indian team will also compete in the double scull event.
The women’s team consists of Khushpreet Kaur (single scull), Vindhya Sankat, Rukmani Dangi, and Sona Keer (all double scull).
Shantanu Tripathi will compete in the Paralympic event.
Army’s Sports Institute in Pune was the training base of the men’s team while Bhopal was the training centre of the women’s team.