Sumit Shokeen
Sumit Shokeen

BHOPAL: His sheer determination and tireless practice have led him to ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup championship 2020 at Szeged in Hungary to be held from September 25-27. Meet Sumit Shokeen, who is the sole representative from India.

Sumit, a Bhopal resident, is currently training in Hungary and his target is to take part in 2021 Olympics to be held in Japan. In a telephonic conversation with Free Press, he said that he has been training for past six months in Hungary. “I have worked very hard and I am excited. I am confident that I will bring laurels to India in the championship,” he said.

Sumit said as kayaking is one of the national games of Hungary, the training there is more intensive. “The players get as much training in six months as we get in three years in India,” he said. His coach, Jambor Attilam is a former Olympian and a three-time world and two-time European champion.

Sumit says he follows a punishing training schedule. “I cycle up to 50 km every day. Hill running and weight running are also part of training schedule,” he said. He has been working on endurance, strength and technique for last six months under his coach. For the past three weeks, Sumit is focused on training for the championship and has shifted base to the town where the event is to be held. “It is close to Budapest,” he said.

When asked whether Corona pandemic impacted his training, Sumit said panic and fear have settled down. “My family and friends were very anxious and used to telephone me every day to known about my safety,” he said. He said Hungary is a thinly-populated country and therefore maintaining social distancing is not a problem. “I wear mask only when visiting places like malls and shopping complexes,” he added.

The pandemic, however, has affected participation in the international championship. “Every year, teams from more than 80 countries take part in the event. But this year, their number is down to around 34,” he said. That makes the competition less tough but not easy,” Sumit added.

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