The lone Indian rowing pair of Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh face an upstream battle in the men’s lightweight double sculls event at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay.
The pair has not had much international exposure after the pandemic changed the world. A proposed five-week trip to Portugal this May was cancelled because of strict quarantine rules. The Army Rowing Node in Pune has been the duo’s base since October 2020.
The two-man crew made the cut after finishing second in the Asia/Oceania qualifying event at Tokyo. Arjun (24) participated in the 2019 World Championships without making a big impact in the single sculls, but won silver with Arvind (25) at the 2019 Asian Championships in Chungju (South Korea) in the pair’s only major international event.
At the Olympics, the duo is up against quite a few seasoned and top-class rowers.
Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy are widely tipped to bag gold. The Irish duo has been impressive in the lead-up, winning gold at the 2019 World Championships in Ottensheim (Austria) and the European Championships in Varese (Italy) in April this year.
It also won the World Cup-II in Lucerne (Switzerland) in May.
The German pair of Jason-Toby Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann will also contend for the top spot. The duo won gold at the World Cup-I in Zagreb in April-May and silver at the European Championships.
Realistically, if the Indian pair finishes anywhere between ninth and 14th (among 18), it would be considered a creditable achievement, given the Ismail Baig-coached team is competing in its maiden Games.