Balraj Panwar earns India’s first quota in rowing – Firstpost

Balraj Panwar clocked 7:01.27 minutes to finish third in the 2000 meters race, sealing the quota for the Paris Olympics. Image: Screenshot

Balraj Panwar on Sunday became the first Indian rower to earn a quota for the 2024 Paris Olympics after finishing third in the men’s single scull event of the 2024 World Asian and Oceanian Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regetta in Chungju, South Korea. The 25-year-old Indian Army rower, who narrowly missed out on bronze in his maiden appearance at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last year, clocked 7:01.27 minutes to finish third in the 2000 meters and thus exceeded the quota to seal.

In the men’s single scull, the top five make it to the Olympic Games.

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, in which India competed at the last Tokyo Olympics, the country failed to qualify.

In an event where the top two earned the quota, Indian duo Ujjwal Kumar and Arvind Singh finished third.

India will thus have a lone entry in rowing at the quadrennial extravaganza scheduled for July 26.

Arjun Lal and Arvind Singh represented the country in the lightweight men’s double sculls at the Tokyo Olympics and returned with an 11th place finish.

The Asian Qualifiers were held simultaneously with the Asian Rowing Cup where India won a gold medal courtesy of the duo of Salman Khan and Nitin Deol in the men’s double scull.

A day after their performance, Panwar, who hails from Karnal in Haryana, put up a dominant show after a slow start.

In the first leg of the 500 meters, Panwar was third behind eventual gold medalist Vladislav Yakovlev of Kazakhstan and Hin Chun Chiu of Hong Kong.

But Panwar used his strength to race ahead and take the lead, passing the halfway point (1000 metres) with a timing of 3:25.51.

He maintained his lead until the penultimate 1500m section, which he crossed in a time of 5:12.67, three seconds ahead of his Hong Kong rival.

But Yakovlev recovered superbly on the final lap to take first place with a time of 6:59.46 seconds.

Indonesia’s Memo Memo also finished within 7 minutes to move past Panwar and take second place.

With PTI inputs

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