Indian rower and former Olympian Dattu Bhokanal admitted that it was painful to see how he is being treated after he was excluded from the national camp in Pune on disciplinary grounds. The five-time national champion was dropped from the national camp and also excluded from the Olympics qualifiers.
Dattu Bhokanal was the lone entrant in Rowing from India at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with him finishing at the 13th position overall. Still hungry for greater heights, the Nahsik-based athlete claimed a Gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, but was soon banned by the Rowing Association of India for tanking a race during the Asiad.
However, the ban was lifted in Jauary 2020 on request of the Sports Ministry for his achievement for the country. But, things went downhill post Covid-19 pandemic as he was dropped from the national camp in Pune on disciplinary grounds, while he was also overlooked for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics qualifications.
The Olympic dream of the five-time national champion is all but over, with him feeling deserted with the way he was treated by the federation. Bhokanal admitted that that his aspirations were killed by the people who were supposed to take him closer to greater heights.
"It's painful to watch the way I am being treated. Since being pushed out of the national camp, now I am being not informed of the selection trials too. My Olympic dreams are being killed by people who are supposed to get me closer to it and I am starting to feel helpless now,” said Dattu Bhokanal, as reported by India TV.
"I requested for a two-day leave to meet my personal doctor for my injury and got but I wasn't allowed to leave the camp (understood to be over the COVID-19 restrictions for the bio-secure bubble). I was instead verbally asked to leave the camp and since then I wasn't allowed to come back. My fellow campers were allowed to be on 8-10 days leave but I wasn't granted the same. I was willing to serve the 14-day quarantine period on return but my plea was ignored," added the rower.