Bronze for battler Sawarn

Bronze for battler Sawarn

Bronze for battler Sawarn

Bouncing back from an injury, Indian ace hangs on to pick up another medal.

For the second straight day, India had an inspirational tale to tell from the Chungju Tangeum Lake Rowing Centre.
A day after Dushyant Chouhan made everyone take notice of his stunning rise from nowhere by capturing the bronze medal in the lightweight men’s single sculls, compatriot Sawarn Singh battled a career-threatening back injury he suffered just five months ago in nailing a bronze in the single sculls event at the 17th Asian Games.

So exhausted was Sawarn after giving it his all, the 24-year-old just collapsed along with his boat upon completion of the race into the lake before being rescued to safety by the officials.

 “I was really tired and just collapsed,” said a tired Sawarn, a Naik Subedar with the Sikh Regiment. “The moment I saw the Korean (Kim Dongyong) making the charge, I just pushed hard. My mind and body went blank towards the final stages. It was just pure instinct. I don’t remember what I did.”

Just about five months ago there was a major doubt about Sawarn’s participation at the continental bash. He suffered a severe back injury that kept him off the water for two months. Despite not gaining full fitness, the determined Sawarn didn’t want to let go a chance of competing in the event.

With the back still troubling him, he held the oars again in August, giving himself just around 45 days preparation time. Knowing a medal in Incheon could play an important role in shaping his career, he put in extra hours to make up for the lost time, eventually reaping the dividends in tenacious fashion.

“While I’m happy with the bronze, I’m disappointed at the same time. I had the silver within my hands but just couldn’t race towards the closing. The injury played a major role, else I would have aimed for the gold.”

Sawarn made a promising start in the race, hitting the front before Iranian Mohsen Shadinaghadeh took the lead around the 700-metre mark. Shadinaghadeh then held his lead for the better part of the race while Sawarn seemed strong for a silver medal finish.However, Kim started making a superb charge in the final 300 metres and despite not much left in his tank, Sawarn pushed himself to the brink, ending up third.

“He is a very strong lad,” complimented Rowing Federation of India secretary-general M V Sriram who is here as the manager of the team. “Back injuries are dreaded by rowers, it can wreck your career. He was totally upset when it happened. However, he has shown great heart in making a superb return. This will augur well for him in his career. I’m confident there are brighter days ahead of him.”

More joy

India eight’s team rounded off a fine day for the rowing contingent, claiming a bronze behind China and Japan.

Results (Indians only): Men’s single sculls: Mohsen Shadinaghadeh (Iran) 7:05.66 1; Kim Dongyong (Kor) 7:06.17, 2; Sawarn Singh (Ind) 7:10.65, 3. Men’s eight: China (5:46.70) 1; Japan (5:50.04) 2; India (Kapil Sharma, Ranjit Singh, Bajrang Lal, Robin Panachithanathu, Sawan Kumar, Azad Mohammad, Maninder Singh, Davinder Singh, Ahmed Mohammed) 5:51.84, 3.

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