I am dead sure that not many have heard about the village named Talegaon. It is a tiny Village (almost only 700-800 families) in the state of Maharashtra which is known to be a drought struck village. But you know what makes this place special? Well, it is “Dattu Bhokanal” who is representing India in the Rowing event at the biggest sporting extravaganza – THE OLYMPICS. He is making his debut in Olympics and is India’s SOLO Rower at Rio. Bhokanal made the cut in the men’s singles sculls category after finishing second in the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta in South Korea.
Rowing indeed is one of the most challenging Water sport in the world and when you are representing a country of population of 1.25 billion, you naturally become the centre of attraction. But the fact that makes Dattu an interesting candidate is that once he was a water phobic. He was never into water sport. Looking at his excellence in rowing over the years, it is hard to believe that when Dattu, while training at the Bombay Engineer Group and Centre in Kirkee, saw the Indian Army water canal for the first time he was Bamboozled. The word that he used to describe his feeling was “Petrified.”
Early days and Struggles
Life has been seldom nice to him. From his father succumbing to bone cancer in 2011 to seeing her mother suffer from brain damage that resulted in almost total Amnesia, Dattu has faced it all. But he never let his personal problems affect his professional journey. He joined Indian Army in 2012 and was stationed in Pune. He kept on working hard on the professional front and kept getting better and better.
Career Highlights of Dattu Bhokanal
The fruits were finally reaped when he struck silver last year at the 16th Asian Rowing Championships in China. Dattu also came 5th in his debut Asian Games at Incheon in 2014. Dattu also is a proud winner of Two gold medals at the 33rd National Rowing Championships.
Upbeat for Rio
Dattu will represent India in the singles rowing sculls where he will face some stiff competitions from his fellow rowers but the 25 year old is all set to create a stir and waves in the water.. His event begin from 6th of August.