Bajrang Lal targets World Rowing to book Olympic berth

Bajrang Lal targets World Rowing to book Olympic berth

"I have been practising for the last four months with new boats procured by the federation (RFI) in Hyderabad for the World Rowing Championships in Slovenia. I would qualify if I finish among the top 15 in my event," said the 30-year-old army rower, who won the single sculls gold in last year's Guangzhou Asian Games.

The world championships are to be held at the Slovenian town of Bled, the third time the venue is hosting it, from August 28-September 4.

Takhar is set to reach the world championship venue on August 24th, the day the facilities are open to the competitors.

If he fails to make the grade in that event, Takhar has next April's Asian Championships in Korea to make the grade, he told reporters today at the promotional "Go for Gold" campaign launched by sports management firm Percept.

Takhar recalled the boost to his career given by his display in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

"I entered the quarter finals in Beijing which gave me a lot of confidence," he said.
The Rajasthan-born Rajputana Rifles Naib-Subedar had finished 21st overall in the last Olympic Games.

Takhar said he had never felt the necessity to take any banned substance to improve his showing in a sport where strength is of utmost importance.

"I have never taken any dietary supplements which had not been recommended by the government authorities. Even if I fall sick I take only those medicines recommended by the authorised doctors," said Takhar while responding to queries over the recent scandal when eight Indian athletes flunked dope tests.

Table tennis champion Achanta Sharath Kamal, who is also part of the campaign to mobilise support for Indian competitors ahead of the Games, is also hopeful of gaining a berth to London.

"I lost the chance to qualify for the London Games directly by five ranks following my first round upset in the World Championships. Had I made the third round I would have qualified directly," he said about his exit in May at Rotterdam when he lost 1-4 to Chinese Taipei's Chen Chien-An.

Kamal maintained that table tennis was a totally clean sport as far as drugs were concerned as it was a game where skills were the over-riding factor.

"Table tennis is a very clean game. There is no need to rely on drugs as you need to be really fast (with hand movement) and it calls for a lot of skills. We also don't take any dietary supplements except vitamin tablets and proteins. We are regularly tested during training camps and competitions," he said.

Saying he had no issues with the "Whereabouts Clause" of World Anti-doping Agency as long as it is for a three-month calendar, he said he was not happy when the agency wanted to know the athletes' programme in advance for the next one year.

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