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Takhar seeks better facilities for rowers
Asian Games gold medallist rower Bajrang Lal Takhar on Saturday said that he feels a lot more could be done to promote sports like rowing and canoeing in India.
"I am not satisfied with the progress made since my Asian Games gold in Guangzhou in 2010. We are still not a major force in Olympics and are behind many countries. I believe we have to provide better facilities to our youngsters to turn them into capable performers at the highest level," Takhar said on the sidelines of the 5th Global Sports Convention organised by PHD chamber of commerce here on Saturday.
Takhar, who has an Asiad bronze and silver as well to go along with his gold, added that there is a great deal of untapped talent in rural India that needs to be promoted. "We haven't achieved our potential in these sports because there is a dearth of proper facilities. Only a few cities have the necessary infrastructure. There is abundance of talent in villages but due to lack of support we haven't been able to nurture it. If rural youth are given enough opportunities, they will achieve great heights," he explained.
The Asiad gold medallist also recognised Rajasthan as the main centre of water racing sports in India.
"Rajasthan is the hotbed of rowing in the country, even though there aren't enough facilities, due to the presence of armed forces in the state and the culture of these sports in them. There are presently around 100 competitive rowers from that state. Central government should provide more help in the state to produce future Olympians," emphasized the 2006 Doha games silver medallist.
The Arjuna awardee, on being asked, explained on why the Army, to which he also belongs, has been a good breeding ground for Indian sportspersons.
"What the Army provides is a platform for athletes to perform as well as job security. Sportspersons in the Armed forces are very keen to perform well as that enhances their chances of getting promotion as well as other benefits. There is hence a great deal of motivation for athletes in this institution," he said.
The bronze medallist at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games was full of praise for the up and coming and highly regarded young Indian rower Dattu Bhokanal.
"I have seen Dattu very closely. He is a very capable athlete who, I believe, will go on to earn great laurels for the country. I am very optimistic about his future and expect him to do well even in Olympics," stated the Padma Shree recipient.
The Rajputana Rifleman concluded by talking about the support from the media and the coverage he has got from them.
"Even though I won silver in 2006 Asiad and did well in 2008 Olympics, I started to get due coverage in the media only after my gold in 2010. But since then, media has shown good attention and their support can help us going forward."
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