EXCLUSIVE: Rowing coach Ismail Baig thanks support from entire India for five medal haul at Hangzhou Asian Games

The Chief coach talks about the support Indian Rowing is receiving, missed golden opportunity, and more.


EXCLUSIVE: Rowing coach Ismail Baig thanks support from entire India for five medal haul at Hangzhou Asian Games

Ismail Baig with Indian rowing team at Hangzhou Games (Via @indiarowing/Instagram)

The success story of the Indian rowers in the Hangzhou Asian Games is worth praise. To win five medals is good, though the only lament is not winning a gold. Chief coach Ismail Baig spoke to FirstSportz for a quick interaction on Monday.

FS: Congrats coach, are you happy with the medals?
Ismail Baig: As a coach I can never say I am a 100 per cent satisfied. Yet, for us to improve on the medal tally from the last Asian Games in Palembang (Indonesia) is significant.

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FS: Are you hinting at not winning a gold medal?
Ismail Baig: Yes, in Palembang, we had won a gold medal. That’s missing this time, though the boys had their chances. There is no point in being critical for all of us have worked very hard. We will try and do better next time in the Asian Games.

FS: Can you tell us about the response from back home and how much rowing is being discussed and praised on social media?
Ismail Baig: I have not really looked at reactions. Yes, there have been messages pouring in. For the rowers to get praise makes me happy. I am thankful that we are being praised by our honorable ministers as well. People have been calling me and telling me. Now that the events are over, I will check all the love and affection we have received.

Related: Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh kick start India’s campaign at Asian Games with a silver medal in lightweight men’s doubles sculls

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FS: Tell us about the support you get from the government and the camps?
Ismail Baig: Minus government support, Indian rowing will be nothing. We are indebted and thankful to the Sports Authority of India, the Sports Ministry and the Indian Army for all the backing we get. It is impossible to be in rowing, train abroad, be in camps, without government support.

Ismail Baig India Rowers Asian Games
(Via @indiarowing/Instagram)

FS: Do you think some of the rowers can make it the Paris Olympics?
Ismail Baig: In terms of effort, we have plenty of talent. I am not going to mention names now but they have the drive and will to excel.

FS: Tell us about the conditions in China and preparations.
Ismail Baig: We came to India around September 7. We had a camp at Thousand Lakes, away from Hangzhou, which was beneficial. We got accustomed to the climate and conditions, overall. The heat was not bad and we were prepared for the humidity as well in Hangzhou. Overall, we have no complaints at all in our preparation. Our rowing fraternity needs support from all the Indians. Five medals is a nice collection to return home with. Thank you, FirstSportz.

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