Takhar, the first to win an Asian Games individual gold [Guangzhou 2010], is keen that the duo fine-tune their technique and emerge mentally stronger when the lockdown is over
Indian rower Sawarn Singh (left) with coach Bajrang Lal Takhar during the Asian Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea last year
National rowing coach Bajrang Lal Takhar, 39, wants India's ace rowers, Sawarn Singh and Dattu Bhokanal to make the most of the Coronavirus-caused lockdown by working on their mental toughness.
Takhar, the first to win an Asian Games individual gold [Guangzhou 2010], is keen that the duo fine-tune their technique and emerge mentally stronger when the lockdown is over.
"Dattu performed well at the Rio Games in 2016 [finishing 13th in men's single sculls] in his maiden Olympics. Sawarn is also a good rower. My advice to them is to become mentally strong if we want to win at the Olympics. At the top level, there is not much to differentiate in terms of physical fitness. Being mentally strong can make a huge difference. They [Sawarn and Bhokanal] also need to work on their technique," Takhar, who has been guiding the rowers via video conferencing from his hometown in Maganpur, Rajasthan, told mid-day on Monday.
Meanwhile, Takhar urged patience from those expecting a rowing medal at the Tokyo Olympics. "They [Sawarn and Bhokanal] will surely qualify for the Tokyo Games. They will make it to the final as well, but we may have to wait for another Olympics [Paris 2024] to win a medal," felt Takhar.
Sawarn, 30, has won gold in quadruple sculls along with Bhokanal, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, while he bagged a bronze in single sculls at the Incheon Games in 2014. Bhokanal, 29, won silver in single sculls at the 2015 Asian Rowing Championships in Beijing.
Takhar has urged the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) to concentrate on rural areas if they wish to tap upcoming talent.
"The RFI needs to search for talent in rural regions. Getting physically strong people is extremely crucial to succeed in rowing. We have worked on certain plans to train aspiring players," he concluded.
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