London: Indian rower Swarn Singh Virk held off a late challenge from his South Korean rival to win the single sculls repechage round and book a berth in the quarter-finals in the London Olympics here on Sunday.
Swran, who had to compete in the repechage round after finishing fourth in the heats on Saturday, took 7:00.49 to complete the 2-km distance at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre. The 23-year-old from Punjab had clocked 6:54.04 in the heats on Saturday.
South Korean Kim Dongyong, who clocked 7:03.91 to finish second, also made it to the quarterfinals which will be held on Tuesday.
Swarn led the five-rower race from the start itself and only Kim gave him competition while the others fell behind. At the 500m mark, Swarn was leading by half a boat and he stretched it to a lead of a boat by the halfway mark, which he maintained till the 1500m mark.
In the last 500m, Kim made a last-ditch effort to catch up with Swarn, but the Indian not only held off the challenge but also stretched the lead to win the race by one-and-a-half boat.