Pune: Army rower Dattu Bhokanal, currently posted in Pune, who won gold medal in the Quadruple Sculls event at the ongoing Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, believes in living life without spending time on social media.
“I stay away from social media and simply focus on hard work. It has helped me to win gold in the Asian Games,” that’s how Dattu described his success mantra, during a get-together to celebrate Indian rowing’s performance in Indonesia.
Dattu, along with his teammates Sawarn Singh, Om Prakash and Sukhmeet Singh shared their experience on return at Army Rowing Node in College of Military Engineering. He is happy the way his fortunes changed after Day 1 where he finished sixth in the Singles Sculls event.
“I was not well, my body temperature was 104 degree Celsius. And in that condition, to come out and win the medal was very satisfactory,” explained the Olympian Oarsman. Dattu, who came into the limelight after qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, believes that medals in rowing will make the sport popular.
“Rowing is not like cricket where we just take a bat and start playing. It is a costly game - it needs proper equipment and training facilities. In cricket, you will see that one player keeps playing and breaking a number of records but in rowing, every four years you will have a new hero. Only those who are ready to sweat really hard can only win medals in a sport like rowing,” added Dattu.
More training venues
Sawarn, who had won a bronze medal in the Single Sculls event at the 2014 Asain Games in Incheon, wants more venues for practice, which he says will improve India’s medal prospects in the coming years. “Look at a country like China. They have so many venues available for rowing practice,” said Sawarn.
“Look at the Army Rowing Node, it is a perfect place for training. We need more such venues across the country that will bring us more medals,” added Sawarn.
Journalism to Army
Bhagwan Singh, who won a bronze medal teaming up with Rohit Kumar in the Lightweight Double Sculls event, wanted to make a career in crime reporting but came to the Army with the hopes of getting a good job and salary.
“I was doing journalism in Punjab University and I had keen interest in crime reporting but my father persuaded me to change the profession, as it would improve family’s financial condition. I came to the Army and my physique suited the sport. So I am into rowing since 2013,” Bhagwan Singh said.
Tough climatic conditions and fever cost us medals: Shete
Indian rowing team returned to the country after winning one gold and two bronze medals. The number of medals could had been better if the team had started well on first day.
“The conditions were completely different from what we had in Pune. We took time to acclimatise with the conditions. Few of our rowers also had fever, which cost us medals on Day 1,” said Mahesh Shete, the team doctor. “If you look at Dattu, he was vomiting continuously after finishing the race. We had to give him medicines after which he could stand on the podium. In all, it was their mental strength, which helped them to bring medals after a tough first day,” added Shete.