In an incredible start to the sixth day of the ongoing Asian Games in Jakarta, various publications reported that India bagged two bronze medals in the sport through Rohit Kumar and Bhagwan Singh in the Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls, alongside Dushyant Chauhan who bagged the bronze medal in the Lightweight Single Sculls.
The world of sports is filled with poignant stories and anecdotes, and the journey of Indian Army rower, Bhagwan Singh, is no less remarkable.
Bhagwan Singh, the son of a truck driver, was a regular 19-year-old college student, pursuing his BA in Journalism, in Chandigarh.
His seemingly peaceful existence was shattered when adverse circumstances hit the family. His father, who was an alcoholic, fell ill and that forced him to drop out of college in his second year, and start looking for a job.
Quoting a PTI story, the Indian Express reported that Bhagwan joined the Indian Army, and was eventually spotted and groomed as a potential rower, thanks to his tall and lean frame.
That was back in 2012, and in no time, Bhagwan was soon in the centre of all rowing activity—the Army Rowing Node, in Pune. Though his paper posting says 114 Armoured Engineers Regiment, Bhagwan has been at the rowing centre throughout.
He also participated in the Rio Olympics as a standby for Dattu Baban Bhokanal, who was the sole Indian rower to qualify for the summer games.
Financial difficulties continue to plague his family, and his father’s condition continues to worsen. However, he is grateful to the Indian Army and credits it for helping him to turn his life around and support his parents.
“I have seen the worst of times. I can only thank God for being here today, representing India. Thanks to the Army, I can also take care of my ageing parents. The money is not enough, considering I have my own diet expenses but when I think of the times I have gone through, this should be a cakewalk,” he said to PTI, as reported in the Indian Express.
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This was truly a sweet victory for Bhagwan, who has been rowing against adverse circumstances for a very long time now. Clueless when his father fell sick a few years ago, Bhagwan is now a focused athlete and is raring to go. We wish him all the best.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)