Balraj Panwar Makes History: Secures India’s First Rowing Quota for Paris Olympics

Sports Desk, 21st April: In a monumental feat, Balraj Panwar clinched India’s inaugural quota in rowing for the Paris Olympics, seizing the third position in the men’s single scull event at the 2024 World Asian and Oceanian Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta held in Chungju, South Korea, on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Indian Army rower, who narrowly missed a bronze medal in his debut at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, last year, exhibited exceptional skill, clocking 7 minutes and 1.27 seconds in the 2000m race to secure the coveted quota.

In the men’s single scull category, the top five finishers earn Olympic berths, ensuring India’s representation in rowing at the quadrennial extravaganza scheduled from July 26.

However, India’s endeavor to qualify in the men’s lightweight double sculls, an event they participated in at the Tokyo Olympics, encountered disappointment as the duo of Ujjwal Kumar and Arvind Singh finished third in an event where only the top two teams secure the quota.

Arjun Lal and Arvind Singh previously represented India in the men’s lightweight double sculls at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing 11th.

Concurrently, during the Asian Rowing Cup, India secured a gold medal in the men’s double scull event, thanks to Salman Khan and Nitin Deol.

Hailing from Karnal, Haryana, Panwar displayed dominant performance after an initial slow start. Despite trailing in the first 500m leg, he surged ahead to claim the lead by the halfway mark, crossing the 1000m milestone with a timing of 3 minutes and 25.51 seconds.

Maintaining his lead until the penultimate stretch of 1500m, Panwar was overtaken by Vladislav Yakovlev of Kazakhstan, who secured gold with a timing of 6 minutes and 59.46 seconds. Memo Memo of Indonesia also surpassed Panwar to claim the second spot.

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