Rowing in water, but feet firmly on ground for Indians
London: A medal is not even a distinct possibility but Indian rowers would look to improve their personal bests with creditable performances when they begin their Olympic campaign here tomorrow.
The three member team comprises Swaran Singh (Single Scull), Manjit Singh and Sandeep Kumar (Double Scull).
Coach Ismail Baig has already stated that it will be a big achievement if the three-member team finishes among the top-15 in the Single Scull event.
In single scull, 33 rowers are taking part, while in the Double Sculls, the field comprises 22 rowers.
"In single scull, a top six finish in the heats will enable Swaran to qualify for the quarterfinals, if he manages to clock around 7 minutes. Double scull teams will have a much tougher task and if they manage around 6m.30sec, they may be able to qualify for the quarter-finals," the coach said.
Baig has been with the rowing team for 11 years in various capacities and is at the helm in his third straight Olympics.
Under him in the last Asian games, Indian rowers gave one of their best performances winning nine medals.
Rowing competitions are scheduled to be held till August 4 at Dorney Lake which, for the purposes of the Games venue, is officially termed Eton Dorney. 550 athletes including 353 men and 197 women will compete in 14 medal events.
Events include the use of two types of boat (heavyweight and lightweight), and two styles of rowing: sweep, where competitors each use a single oar, and sculling, where they use two.
Scull events include men`s and women`s singles, doubles,
lightweight doubles, and quads. Sweep events are men`s and women`s pairs and eights, and men`s fours and lightweight fours.
With a great history in rowing which includes multiple Olympic gold medal winners Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent, Britain have established themselves as firm favourites.
The hosts will be led by 1992 Gold medallist Greg Searle in the men`s event, while two-time Olympic silver medallist Frances Houghton, racing at her fourth Games, will lead the women`s charge.
Traditional superpowers USA lead the overall medal haul with 84 medals while the Germans lead the gold tally with 52 gold medals.
Surprisingly, Roumania have performed exceedingly well in the last decade.
They topped the medal table at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 while Britain and Australia finished first and second respectively with two gold medals at the Beijing Games.
New Zealand can be a dark horse after finishing second behind Britain at the 2011 World Championships.