Dattu Bhokanal became the first Indian rower to book a quota place for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Monday. The 25-year-old Maharashtra-based armyman achieved the feat after clinching a silver medal in the Asia Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chungju, South Korea.
Bhokanal covered the 2 km course at 7 mins and 7.49 seconds to come second in the race. "It's a great achievement for everybody concerned, especially considering that qualifying for the Olympics is huge in itself," said Captain Girish J Phadnis, the secretary general of the Rowing Federation of India, to The New Indian Express.
"The federation is really happy for Dattu, the coach (Ismail Baig) and support staff, for they have put in lot of effort to ensure such a historic milestone."
The news came just hours after Sandeep Tomar (57kg freestyle wrestling) became the fourth amateur wrestler to book a berth for India in the Rio Olympics. Yogeshwar Dutt (65kg freestyle), Narsingh Yadav (74kg freestyle) and Hardeep Singh (Greco-Roman 98kg) had earlier booked their places in the quadrennial sporting event.
Meanwhile, Indian shooter Mairaj Ahmed Khan, who has already sealed a quota place for India in the Rio Olympics, bagged a silver medal in the men's skeet shooting event at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. This is India's first ever medal in the skeet event at the shooting World Cup.
Mairaj, who gave India a place in the skeet discipline of the Olympics after an impressive performance at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Italy last September, lost the gold to Marcus Svensson of Sweden in a shoot off at the ISSF World Cup.
Both of them were tied on 14 points at the final stage.