The Indian dragon boat team has created history by winning a bronze medal in the ongoing International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Cup being held in Ningbo, China on Sunday. India got the bronze in the mixed team event in the 500m race.
“It was a team effort and I am very happy that we won this historic medal. We could have done better, but the quality of our boats is not that good in comparison to other team. Nevertheless, it is a great achievement,” Manjee Singh, captain of the Indian team, told TOI from Ningbo. “We came into the event with good preparation after a 15-day camp at the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh,” he added.
Manjeet also lashed out at the sports ministry’s apathy towards water sports, but is hopeful that this medal would help improve the infrastructure of water sports in India.
“The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was not even ready to send us for the Asian Games, until the last moment. I don’t want to demean our country; but if you will look at the boats, equipment and the kind of training sessions that the players from China, Singapore and Malaysia get, we stand nowhere near them. Despite the lack of support, we have won the medal. I hope these medals would help improve infrastructure of water sports in India,” he said.
The Indian dragon boat teams had won a silver and two bronze medals in the Asian Championship last year, but they failed to replicate their performance in the Asian Games.
The gold medal was won by Chinese Taipei, while the hosts China had to settle for a silver. A total of 37 teams from 29 countries had participated in the championship.
Compiled by Roshna K.