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On Olympian father's footsteps, rower Parminder makes it to podium in Asian Games
By Saurabh Duggal
A fracture in Parminder Singh Grewal's right foot changed the course of his life, shifting him from basketball to rowing. The forced break from basketball helped Parminder emerge as one of the country's top rowers. On Monday, he teamed up with Satnam Singh, Jakar Khan, and Sukhmeet Singh to clinch bronze in the quadruple scull at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
"Tall height runs in our genes. I am 6'5", and Parminder is an inch taller than me. Due to his height, basketball teams in Pune used to invite him to play for their clubs there. However, he suffered a fracture in his right foot in 2017, which prevented him from going to Pune that season. So, I thought of introducing him to rowing, and the sport came naturally to him as he's made to excel in it," says father-cum-coach Inderpal Singh, who, along with Kasam Khan, was the country’s first rowers to compete in the Olympics at the 2000 Sydney Games.
"Today, despite it being a tough field, our boys performed well, and with Parminder being part of the bronze-medal-winning team, he made me relive my 2002 Busan Asian Games moments," adds the proud father, who also won bronze in the 2002 Asian Games. Currently, he is a national coach of the event and is accompanying the team in Hangzhou, China.
Parminder, who hails from the village of Bilaspur in Yamunanagar, Haryana, won silver in the single scull at his international debut in the Asian Championship in 2021. The medal earned him a job in the Indian Navy.
Inderpal took voluntary retirement from the Indian Army in 2019 and joined the Sports Authority of India as a coach to be able to dedicate more time to Parminder's rowing career. "From 2014 to 2019, I was the head coach at the Army Rowing Node in Pune, and because of that, I was unable to give time to Parminder. I switched my job so that I could concentrate on him," says Inderpal. "Now Parminder's next target is the 2024 Paris Olympics."