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Home Rowing Dhyan Chand Award is my greatest achievement - Olympian rower Manjeet Singh

Dhyan Chand Award is my greatest achievement – Olympian rower Manjeet Singh

Rower Manjeet Singh won the prestigious Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games by the Union Sports Ministry last month. He has had a deep impact in the sport leaving a legacy for himself for future generation after participating in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The 31-year-old Manjeet, one of the youngest to get this Award and like many rowers in India, is a product of Dronacharya and chief national coach Ismail Baig and feels this Award should only motivate him to look for a third Olympics appearance.

Our team caught in interaction with Manjeet after he received the honourable award. Here’s the excerpt from the interview.

Q How were you introduced to this sport?

Ans: After finishing my education, I had shifted to Chandigarh. Over there, I had seen some of my friends who were in the Police Forces practising at the Chandigarh Sukhana Lake. That is when I got immensely interested to take up the sport. This is how I was introduced to the sport.

Q: How did your career progress?

Ans: To make a career in rowing, I had to take the first step of working very hard. In 2004, I had joined the CRA. After winning a silver in Junior National Championships, I realized that I am capable of doing something big in rowing.

Q: What do you rank as the ultimate highlight in your career?

Ans: I had represented India in Beijing Olympics2008, won 2 silver medals in Asian Games of 2010, represented India in the London Olympics of 2012. These are, I believe the greatest highlights of my career.

Q: You had initially trained at the Chandigarh Lake Club and then you shifted to Hyderbad Camp for Asian Junior Camp. How different were the experiences from each other?

Ans: In the beginning, I used to practise in the state equipment provided at the CRA. After going to Hyderbad Camp, I was able to practise in international level equipment. National level coaches were there to train me which resulted in the great improvement of my performance.

Q: You had represented India in Men’s Lightweight Double scull in 2008 and 2012 Olympics. How did you manage to take India to the Olympic Waters?

Ans: In 2007, I was in sweep rowing. After noticing my talent, RFI recommended that I should start sculling and that would lead to the better utilization of my talent. That is how I led Indian rowing to the Olympic waters.

In the 2012 Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta, Rower Manjeet Singh came third in men’s lightweight category
In the 2012 Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta, Rower Manjeet Singh came third in men’s lightweight category

Q: In the 2012 Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta, you came in third in men’s lightweight category. To get to that level, what was your average day in those days?

Ans: After returning from 2008 Olympics I won medals in the 2010 Asian Games and participated in the 2012 Olympics in the same category. For that, I had to constantly keep myself in my peak performance. I used to practise for 3 sessions per day which led to the increment of my performance.

Q: Representing India in two consecutive Olympics requires a great amount of patience. It is basically a preparation of at least 8 years. How did you manage to do so?

Ans: For a sport like rowing, a great amount of patience is required. Starting from learning to maintain the balance of the boat to the crossing the finishing line is not an easy task. Even I have spent nights after nights thinking about aims and focussing on them. Only after that, I got a chance to represent India in the Olympics.

Q: What is your winning philosophy?

Ans: I have kept myself and the boat always ready before the race. From the “SET, ATTENTION, GO” of the referee to the finishing beep of the race, I have maintained my race plan and have changed it mid-race. I have always kept one hundred per cent faith and trust in myself and my training.

My life’s greatest achievement is being awarded the prestigious Dhyanchand Award - Olympian rower Manjeet Singh
My life’s greatest achievement is being awarded the prestigious Dhyanchand Award – Olympian rower Manjeet Singh

Q: How do you feel after receiving one of the prestigious National Sport award – The Dhyan Chand Award?

Ans: My life’s greatest achievement is being awarded the prestigious Dhyanchand Award. Without the unending support from RFI and my parents for the past 16-20 years, nothing would have been possible. My parents always gave me the freedom to do what I felt correct and did everything under the sun to support my career. They had even worked harder just to afford my sports diet. I am greatly indebted to the Rowing Federation of India and ARTY for their relentless encouragement. If CRA had not introduced me to rowing, I would not have been a recipient of this award. I will always credit my coaches and trainers for guiding me and correcting my mistakes. I will always remember my friends who always encouraged me.

Q: What advice would you like to the budding rowers and the Olympic aspirants of our country?

Ans: The rower must always have one aim or goal and should always abide by it. The rowers should always work hard and maintain a proper diet. The rowers must always respect their coaches and seniors.

Also read: We will win 10 Olympic gold medals which I had missed | By Karnam Malleswari

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