Indian rowers not expecting medals at Beijing

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Shanghai, Jul 10 (UNI) With less than a month to go for the Beijing Olympics, Indian rowers are not hopeful of grabbing medals at the mega quadrennial event.

The Indians, who are here for a 20-day training stint before the Games, admited that there is a huge gap between them and the traditional rowing powerhouses from Europe and North America.

''European nations will also practice there and I will compare myself with them. I am not hoping for a medal but I will try to finish within the top 10,'' reigning Asian Champion Bajrang Lal Thakar was quoted as saying by a website.

The armyman, who will compete in the men's singles sculls event, is India's brightest prospect at this year's event.

Apart from Thakar, India will be represented at Beijing by the lightweight doubles sculls team of Manjeet Singh and Devender Kumar.

The duo made the grade at the Olympic qualifiers here in April even after their oars went missing leaving them with almost no practice.

But they are confident such mishaps will not happen in Beijing and they will be able to put a decent show.

''In Olympics there will be no problem of this type. We are confident of doing well in the games,'' Manjeet Singh said.

While Indian rowers regulars win medals at the Asian level, they are yet to leave their mark at the Olympics. PT Paulose, the only Indian rower at the 2004 Athens Olympics had a forgettable outing, finishing 27th in a field of 29 in the men's single sculls competition.

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