Nethra Kumanan first Indian woman sailor to qualify for Olympics as India seal three Tokyo 2020 spots

Vishnu Saravanan (Laser Standard) and the duo of KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar (49er) also won Olympic berths. Nethra Kumanan races in the Laser Radial category.

By Naveen Peter

Women’s sailing competition at the Tokyo Olympics will see an Indian participation for the first time after Nethra Kumanan secured a quota place with her commendable show at the Mussanah Open Championship, an Olympic qualifier, on Thursday.

Also earning quota places for the Tokyo 2020 were Vishnu Saravanan in the laser standard class, and the duo of KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar in the 49er category.

This is the first time that India will be competing in more than one sailing event at the Olympics. Indian sailors will compete in the Laser Radial, Laser Standard and the 49er categories at the Games.

Two sailors, however, have represented the country at the Olympics on four occasions. The laser class is a single sailor event while the 49er comprises a team of two sailors.

Setting sail on the final day of the event, the 23-year-old Nethra Kumanan led the Laser Radial category with a healthy margin. She just needed to ensure an incident-free race in the medal round to ensure the Olympic quota.

Though she finished the medal round in sixth, Nethra Kumanan maintained her hold on the overall standings to finish second behind Emma Charlotte Jeanne Savelon of the Netherlands.

Nethra Kumanan is the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics.

Later, Vishnu Saravanan impressed on the final day of the meet in the laser standard class.

Coming into the day’s action in third place in the overall standings, the Indian Army officer leapfrogged Thailand’s Keerati Bualong to seal his Olympic quota.

Vishnu Saravanan topped the medal race to go second behind Singapore’s Ryan Lo Jun Han in the final standings.

Meanwhile, the duo of KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar faced no challenge as they topped the 49er Class to clinch quota places for Tokyo 2020.

The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallists began the concluding day with a 17 point lead over their nearest rivals Akira Sakai and Russel Aylsworth of Hong Kong.

Lead image: Twitter/ Sports Ministry