Indian sailors eye Olympic berth at Asian qualifiers in Oman

The Mussanah Open Championship will act as the final Olympic qualifying event for Asian sailors after the qualifiers in Abu Dhabi were called off due to COVID-19.

By Naveen Peter

Asian Games medallists Varun Thakkar, KC Ganapathy and Harshita Tomar will lead the Indian challenge at the 2021 Mussanah Open Championship. It will be the final Olympic qualification meet for Asian and African nations.

The competition, which will be held at the Al Mussanah Sports City from April 1-8, will see the duo of Varun Thakkar and KC Ganapathy compete in the men’s 49er while Harshita Tomar will compete in the women’s laser radial class.

Also aiming for Olympic qualification will be Nethra Kumanan, who last year became the first Indian woman to win a World Cup Series medal, a bronze in the Miami leg in January.

The Asian qualification, which was initially scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 15-22, was moved to Oman a few weeks back due to the prevailing COVID-19 conditions in the Emirates.

This has come as a worry for the Indian team who find themselves in a spot of bother with their boats stuck in Abu Dhabi.

“It is a logistical nightmare and we are running against time,” Jitendra Dixit, joint-secretary of Yachting Association of India (YAI), told The Hindu.

“We are hoping to get it done by road. In case we are not able to do that, we are planning to hire boats in Oman, that is the back-up,” said Dixit.

One quota place is available in each event at the Asian Olympic qualifiers.

Indian sailing squad for Asian Olympic qualifiers

Men

49er: Varun Thakkar and KC Ganapathy, Prince Noble and Manu Francis, Sandip Jain and Munna Pandit

Laser standard: Vishnu Saravanan, Mohit Saini, Gitesh

Windsurfing - RFX: Jerome, Ebad Ali

Women

49er FX: Ekta Yadav and Rithika Dangi

Laser radial: Nethra Kumanan, Ramya Saravanan, Harshita Tomar

Windsurfing - RFX: Ishwarya Ganesh