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Posted at: May 8, 2019, 8:00 AM; last updated: May 8, 2019, 8:00 AM (IST)

Punjab rowers saved from drowning in Sukhna Lake

Punjab rowers saved from drowning in Sukhna Lake

Deepankar Sharda

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7

A major tragedy was averted when a couple of rowers from Punjab were saved from drowning at Sukhna Lake by Arun Kapoor, a boating member of the Lake Sports Club. The incident happened on May 2 when the duo was practising at the lake.    

“The incident occurred around 9 am. One of our boating members spotted the struggling rowers and rescued them,” said Arvind Sehgal, rowing coach at the Lake Sports Complex.

“Both the rowers were not my trainees and later it was brought to my notice that they belonged to the Punjab Rowing Association. I don’t know whether they are the members of the club or not, but definitely not my trainees,” said Sehgal.

Meanwhile, Arun Kapoor’s name has been recommended for the bravery award. In a letter dated May 3, an official of the Sports Department urged the Sports Secretary to recommend Kapoor’s name for the bravery award.        

Membership concerns

Pertinently, only the local rowers or the ones who represent the city in various tournaments are allowed to train at Sukhna Lake, and questions are now being asked how come Punjab rowers were allowed to train at the venue.       

To get the membership of the Lake Sports Complex, a rower should be able to swim at least 200m.

The officials also claim that they organise regular tests for the new members and professional rowers, but in this case, the coach is not sure whether the two took the test or not.

According to sources, the previous General Manager (Operations) of the complex had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Punjab Rowing Association, allowing them to hold coaching camps at the lake. But no approval was given for allotting practice hours to their rowers.

The Punjab Rowing Association has its own dedicated coaching centre at Rupnagar. When contacted, the incumbent General Manager downplayed the incident. “There was no major incident. It’s a part of the sport and no life-threatening incident took place. It was a minor capsize and I was in the complex at that time,” said Naib Singh.

He also informed that membership was granted to the rowers as they were studying in local schools/colleges.

“If they are studying in local schools or colleges, they should represent the city and the Chandigarh Rowing Association. The Punjab Rowing Association has their exclusive centre at Ropar (Rupnagar). Will they allow rowers from Chandigarh to practise there and represent Chandigarh?” asked an official of the Chandigarh Rowing Association.

letter to sports secretary

On May 2, around 9 am a double scull boat with two rowers capsized in Sukhna Lake. The boat belonged to the Punjab Rowing Association. The incident occurred in the middle of the lake, towards the jungle area, about 700m away from the jetty. The boys were struggling and asking for help. Luckily, one of the members spotted them and rushed to the spot. They were saved and brought to a safe zone. Taking cognizance of this incident, I request you to take necessary steps to avoid such incidents in the future.


One of our boating members spotted the struggling rowers and rescued them. Both the rowers belonged to the Punjab Rowing Association.— Arvind Sehgal, Rowing coach, Lake Sports complex

There was no major incident. It’s a part of a sport and no life-threatening incident took place. It was a minor capsize and I was in the complex at that time. — Naib Singh, GM, Lake Sports complex

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