During a chat with college students in Jaipur last year, rower Bajrang Lal Takhar spoke about one of his proudest moment as an army man when he got to salute the President of India while receiving the Arjuna Award and then the Padma Shri. It was special for him as the President is also the Commander-in-chief and only a select few from the services get to meet him.
He won the Arjuna Award 2008 and the Padma Shri in 2013 but for the Indian sports fan, the historic moment that Takhar would be remembered came in 2010 in Guangzhou when the Naib Subedar became the first Indian rower ever to clinch a gold medal at the Asian Games.
The 39-year-old remains the only individual gold medallist in the continental competition with the only other title triumph coming in the Quadruple Sculls at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
Takhar led that race from start to finish and provided the Indian contingent, who had just one gold medal from Pankaj Advani to show after seven days of competition, a major reason to cheer.
“I had missed out on the gold in the 2006 Asian Games by a very fine margin and had trained exceptionally hard since that day to clinch this…