Fisherman’s daughter from Tamil Nadu to represent country in World Rowing Cup II- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Till July 2019, Rose Mastica Meril, the youngest of three daughters of a fisherman from Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu), was not into any professional sport.

It all began when rowing coach Bhaskar Reddy spotted her during a talent hunt program under Khelo India scheme. Given her tall frame, the coach picked Rose for training at the Shri Ramachandra Water Sports Center (SWSC). The Covid-19 pandemic, however, put brakes on her grooming in February next year.

The lockdown meant she could only resume training in September 2021. But the limited training didn’t matter as the Tamil Nadu girl won double sculls silver in junior national championships and followed it up with bronze in Women’s Four at the senior nationals held early this year .

The performance also earned her a place in the national camp. The 18-year-old rower is expected to add yet another feather to her cap as she is in the Women’s Eight team selected for the 2022 World Rowing Cup 2 scheduled in Poznan, Poland. Incidentally, this will be the first time since 2009 when any Indian women’s team will compete at the World Cup.

A 40-member national team will participate in the event slated from June 17 to 19. It comprises 29 rowers, six coaches, three support staff and two RFI delegates. They had already reached the venue.

“My father Alphonse Raj always supported me. The lockdown derailed our training at the center but we trained hard as soon as relaxations were announced and won medals at junior and senior nationals, which eventually gave me a place in the national team,” the rower told this daily from Poland.

Coach Reddy played a crucial role in unearthing her talent and shaping her up for the challenges ahead. “We conducted a talent hunt program for our center in Kanyakumari and Nagercoil as youths from the fishermen community there are naturally built for water sports. They have no fear of water. Height and fitness help athletes to excel in rowing. Rose fulfilled all those criteria . She started rowing only after reaching the centre. Despite the short period, it’s really remarkable that she not only found a place in the national camp but also made it to the national team for the World Cup,” said Reddy.

The Indian women will compete against rowers from the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and Germany in the World Cup. Assistant coach Soma Barua, who accompanied the team, is confident of a good show from her wards. “We trained hard for more than four months in Hyderabad. It all depends on the weather conditions on the race day but anything can happen,” said Soma.

Rajlaxmi Singh Deo, president of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI), was all praise for Chennai’s center and termed Rose as the real story of India’s future in rowing.

“The centre’s water course is around 500m but the reason why she (Rose) has come up so fast is scientific training being provided at the facility. It’s a fantastic center with all the latest testing mechanisms. Credit should be given to the Khelo India scheme and the center for unearthing such talented rowers,” the RFI president said.

Teams

Men

  • Lightweight double sculls: Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh.

  • Lightweight double sculls: Arwinder Singh and Ajay Tyagi.

  • Quadruple sculls: Ashish Phugat, Dushyant, Jakar Khan and Sukhmeet Singh.

  • Men’s eight: Jaswinder Singh, Bheem Singh, Neeraj, Gurmeet Singh, Niteesh Kumar, Charnjeet Singh, Punit Kumar, Ashish, Uttam Dhananjay Pandey.

Women

Women’s eight: Rose Maria, KB Varsha, Sonali Swain, Khushpreet Kaur, Avinash Kaur, Rose Mastica Meril, Deepika Xess Rity Kaudi, Srikanth Veldi.

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