By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Olympic-bound men’s lightweight double scull rowing team has cancelled its five-week exposure tour in Portugal due to strict fortnight-long quarantine rule for Indian visitors. The tour was supposed to start on June 1.
“Since it was mandatory for the Indian squad to undergo a two-week quarantine period on arrival in Portugal, we had to cancel the exposure tour. With less than two months to go for Olympics, we can’t afford to lose practice,” national rowing coach Ismail Baig told IANS from Pune.
Last week, Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) had sanctioned Rs 21 lakh for men’s lightweight double scull team, consisting of Arun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh, to train in Portugal’s Pocinho High Performance Centre ahead of Tokyo Olympic Games starting July 23.
“Training in Portugal would have certainly benefitted us as some of the top rowers from across the world come to train at Pocinho center. Since we aren’t going abroad now, we would make use of facilities we have in Pune,” added the national coach.
Earlier this month, 24-year-old Singh, and 25-year-old Jat had qualified for Tokyo Olympic Games in men’s lightweight double scull at Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying event in Tokyo.
The national camp started on May 18 in Pune. Focus at the camp will be on tactical aspect of rowing.
“The rowers have already reached 98 per cent of their optimum level in April. Physically, we can’t push them hard in the last two months. That’s why the focus will be on tactical part of training due to local weather conditions on the rowing course in Tokyo. It is generally windy there,” said Baig.