Swaran Singh rowed his way through exhaustion to fetch India its second bronze medal at the Asian Games Chungju Tangeum Lake International Rowing Centre here this morning.
Singh covered the 2000m distance in 7 minutes, 10.65 seconds, which was better than his performance at the London Olympic Games two years ago timing wise (7:29.66) , to clinch the third place in men’s singles sculls.
But the extra effort the 24-year-old former volleyball player put in towards the end when he tried to ward off the challenge from South Korean rival Kim Dongyong, who secured the silver, saw him collapse due to exhaustion. He fell off the boat into the water, and had to be taken out by the rescue team to the ambulance.
“He should be fine. It was just exhaustion which happens to rowers at times. It was a brave effort as he was struck with severe back pain over the last three to six months and we had to work really hard to get him back into shape,” said Rowing Federation of India secretary general M V Sriram.
Swaran Singh, who is 1.89 metres tall and weighs 88 kg, led the field of six rowers for the first 1 km of the race and was comfortably headed towards the silver, before being overtaken by Iranian gold medallist Mohsen Shadinaghadeh, who clocked 7:05:66.
Korean rower Dongyong took the second place in 7:06.17.
Swaran Singh, who had clocked a slower 7:31.88 when he won the gold in the 2013 Asian Championship in China, had come through the repechage to be in the medal race.
He has shown steady progress in his event, having grabbed the gold in the last Asian Championship after finishing third in 2011 in Slovakia.
Even in world championships, Swaran – who took up rowing only five years ago – had improved from the 17th-place finish in 2011 to 12th last year in this country.
This was the second day in succession that rowing had provided India with a medal.
Yesterday Dushyant Chauhan picked up a bronze in men’s lightweight single sculls.