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Two Indian Army men silently create history in rowing at the Tokyo Olympics
Indian Army men, Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh represented the nation at the Tokyo Olympics and have already ensured India's best-ever result in rowing at the Games.
Disappointment struck several times for the Indian fans who have rested their faith in the likes of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary, who failed to drive a medal home from the Tokyo Olympics.
While several faltered, two Indian Army Men were creating history pursuing their mission with single-minded focus. Indian rowers Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh did something no other rowers could do for the country at the Olympics. The duo, taking part in the men's lightweight double sculls event, reached the semifinals - a feat which is India's best-ever result in rowing at the Games.
In the semifinals, the duo clocked a time of 6:24.21 secs to be placed in the sixth position at the events at Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday. They will now be competing for their positions, which could be anything between 7 and 12.
Speaking to The Bridge from Tokyo, Arjun and Arvind's coach Ismail Baig said, "We shouldn't be simply satisfied with the best-ever finish. The two will fight with all their might like to secure with a better position in Tokyo tomorrow."
He added, "The wind was quite strong today; however, that cannot be the excuse. We have just one more day left in Tokyo, and they will be all out in their attempt."
Incidentally, India's best performance in rowing till date was pulled off by single sculler Dattu Bhokanal who finished 13th at the 2016 Rio Games. On Thursday, Arvind and Arjun will compete for their positions against Poland, Canada, Norway, Ukraine, and Spain.
Like others, both Arjun and Arvind picked up rowing from the Indian Army. Arvind, hailing from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, is now a Naib Subedar who joined the Army in 2016 following the footsteps of his elder brother.
Arjun, also a Naib Subedar from Jaipur in Rajsthan, was introduced to the sport by India's first gold medalist rower in Asian Games, Bajrang Lal Takhar, when he joined the Rajputana Rifles in 2015.
Nobody among the pair knew about the Olympic Games before 2016; neither their face speaks of the significance of their achievement; destiny had their match 'made in streams' when both met for the first time in 2017 during an All-India rowing selection trials.
They were among the chosen ones to train under the legendary Ismail Baig since 2018 at the Army Institute of Sports. Baig saw in them a silent camaraderie that led them to be a part of the reserve team in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta when the team of Rohit Kumar and Bhagwan Singh clinched bronze in the lightweight double sculls for India. A year later, in 2019, the duo travelled to Chungju, South Korea, as the first choice pair for the Asian Championships. They won a silver medal as India produced a five-medal haul.