Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh on Sunday produced the best-ever Olympic performance by Indian rowers as they cruised into the men's lightweight double sculls semifinals at the Tokyo Games.
The Indian duo clocked 6:51.36 to finish third in the repechage round at the Sea Forest Waterway.
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"We followed exactly whatever had been told to us by our coach. The coach told us that we should try to get the best position for India," the duo said.
"It's (rowing) not a very popular sport in India. So our coach told us that getting to the semifinals is also a big motivation for us, and we had to do our best."
Poland's Jerzy Kowalski and Artur Mikolajczewski finished at the top with a timing of 6:43.44, followed by Spain's Caetano Horta Pombo and Manel Balastegui, who clocked 6:45.71 in the repechage 2.
While Arjun assumes the role of the bower, Arvind is the team's stroker. The two had finished fifth in their heats on Saturday.
"This is the best ever performance by Indian rowers in the Olympics. No Indian team has ever reached the semifinals," Rowing Federation of India president Rajlaxmi Singh Deo told PTI.
"Arvind and Arjun are now among the 12 semifinalists. It can be difficult to win a medal but they will be competing in the semifinals. There will be two semifinal races of six boats each and top three from each semifinals will reach the final."
The event includes two rowers in a scull boat using two oars each. The long, narrow and broadly semi-circular in cross-section boats helps to reduce the drag.
The maximum weight set for each male competitor is 72.5kg and the average weight cannot exceed 70 kg.
The semifinals will be held on July 27.