Indians paddlers reach six finals after hiring boats
India's Gaurav Tomar and the men's team of Ajit Kumar Sha and Raju Rawat entered the finals of the canoe sprint 1,000 metre single and 1,000 metre double events of the 17th Asian Games here on Sunday.
Incheon: After hiring high quality international boats on reaching here, the Indian men and women paddlers reached six out of eleven finals in canoeing and kayaking at the 17th Asian Games here on Sunday.
The Indians entered the finals of five men's and one women's events, with Gaurav Tomar even winning his semifinal race in the men's 1000m C1 event at the Hanam Misari Center and the duo of S Ajit Kumar and Rajiv Rawat taking the second place in men's 1000m C2.
Tomar finished ahead of Korea's Kim Taeun by overtaking the home country paddler over the last 250m.
Expressing satisfaction at India's performance, team manager and secretary general of the national canoeing and kayaking federation Balbir Singh Khushwaha said that they had infact hired 'Nelo and Pastex' boats which are used by 99.99 per cent of racers in the world.
"We don't have such boats in our country and there are automatic starting blocks to push the boats once the gun is fired, which too are not there anywhere in our country," Khushwaha told PTI when queried about the team's surprisingly good display.
The official said that earlier too Indian paddlers had made the finals of some events in the Asian Games but not after competing in such a tough competition as was the case here.
"The competition here is extremely tough with the likes of Korea, China, Uzbekistan and Iran. Our boys have performed wonderfully well," he said.
Complementing SAI for helping the federation in conducting their camp from April onwards till their departure for the Games at Bhopal, Khushwaha said that with better equipment like boats and starting blocks and import of foreign coaches, things could be better.
"We have a foreign coach from Germany in the four slalom events that will be held on October 1 and 2, but not in others," he said.
"There are 48 medals on offer in this sporting discipline but generally there is more attention on games which offer just a few like hockey," he pointed out.
Tomar showed his paddling skills as he covered the 1000m distance in men's C1 semifinal in 4:18.956 to qualify for the finals by topping the list while in C1 men's doubles Ajit Kumar and Rawat clocked 4:02.971 to finish second in the 1000m semifinal to qualify for Monday's finals.
Robert Raj Selvaraj too qualified for the finals of the men's kayak singles after clocking 3:58.234 to finish third in the 1000m semi final race.
Ragina Kiro and Nanao Devi Ahongshangbam were the only women to make it to the finals, when they took the third spot by clocking 1:52.975 in the K2 500m semi-finals.
Also to make the finals were the K4 quartet of Ajit Singh, Sunny Kumar, Ramesh Golli and A Chingsingh Singh and O Jamesboy Singh who finished third in C1 200m in 42.996.
Indian entrants in five other races failed to enter the finals.
In the 1000m K2, Sunny Kumar and Chingching Singh Arambam finished fourth by clocking 3:37.915 and were eliminated.
The duo also failed to make a mark in the K2 short sprint held over 200m as they finished a poor seventh in the semifinals.
Anusha Biju made her exit from two events ? women's K1 raced over 200m and 500m in which she finished 6th (48.751) and 5th (2:11.956) respectively.