Excellence in sports is a byproduct of hard work and perseverance; sportspersons usually have to overcome many hurdles to succeed. Indian rowers Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat are prime example of how hard work and perseverance pays in the end as they crossed two major hurdles to win a silver medal for India in the Asian Games here on Sunday.
Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat finished second behind a Chinese pair in Men's Lightweight Doubles Sculls at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre here in Hangzhou on Sunday to open India's medal account at the Asian Games.
After the win, Arvind said, they could have won a gold medal but for an old injury that has hampered him in recent times.
Arvind and Arjun had reached the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympic Games and went into the competitions at the Asian Games with a lot of confidence, despite Arvind's injury. They had to come through the repechage race to reach the semifinals. But once they cleared that hurdle, they were quite confident in the Final A.
Arvind thought they could have won the gold medal if he was not hampered by the severe lower back injury that had made things difficult till a few months back.
"Our aim was to win gold but because of my injury, I wasn't able to push myself as much. Even during the trials, I was battling this injury.
"I went to Hyderabad to get treatment and the physio there really worked on getting me back in good shape. I resumed practice and only because of that have I been able to win this silver medal," Arvind Singh said after the final.
The 27-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, who belongs to a family of farmers took to rowing after joining the Indian Army as a coach suggested him to try rowing considering his physique.
Arvind has since achieved a lot, winning gold in the 2022 Asian Rowing Championships in Lightweight Double Sculls, gold in the 2022 National Games in Gujarat, gold in the 2022 Senior National Rowing Championship in single sculls, gold in Asian Rowing Championships in 2021 in Thailand and a silver medal in the 2019 Asian Rowing Championships in South Korea.
He and Arjun Lal Jat had their crowning glory when they reached the semifinals in Lightweight Double Sculls in the Tokyo Olympic Games, eventually finishing 11th overall.
It was not the only hurdle the duo had to cross -- they faced another major problem as they could not compete together for some time last year because Arjun Lal Jat had picked up weight after the Olympic Games in 2021 and they could not fulfil the weight requirement.
In Lightweight Double Sculls. both the rowers had to have a combined weight of 70kgs to participate. With Arjun gaining weight, they could not fulfil that criteria and Arvind Singh had to participate in Single Sculls in some competitions.
However, once Arjun Lal lost the extra flab and got into shape, they came together again as the coaches felt they presented India with a good chance of winning a medal at the Asian Games.
They finally fulfilled the dream of winning an Asian Games medal and will now be looking forward to excelling in the Qualifying regatta to clinch their place in the Paris 2024.