Nethra Becomes First Indian Woman Sailor to Qualify for Olympics

The Quint
·2-min read

Nethra Kumanan became the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympic games on Wednesday when she was assured of a top-place finish in the laser radial event of the Mussanah Open Championship in Oman.

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Laser Radial is a singlehanded boat, which means that it is sailed by only one person.

Kumaran with 18 points to her name leads her nearest rival, India’s Ramya Saravanan (39 points), by 21 points in the laser radial class event with one race to go on Thursday. The athlete with the lowest points tally wins.

Dutchwoman Emma Charlotte Jeanne Savelon is currently in second spot, above Saravanan, with just a three-point difference with Kumanan but isn’t in the scheme of things for Olympic qualification as Mussanah Open Championship is an Asian Qualifier.

On Thursday, the final race of the event is a 20 pointer and Kumanan has already sealed it with one round to go.

"Kumanan has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with one race to go on the final day on Thursday," Asian Sailing Federation President Malav Shroff was quoted as saying by PTI.

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"The final race is a 20 pointer but the point gap with her nearest Asian rival, also an Indian, is more than 20," said Shroff who himself represented India in Olympic sailing event in the 2004 Athens Games.

"Nethra qualified for the Olympics today, with a big lead in points; however the event is going to finish officially tomorrow, after the last race called Medal Race," her Hungarian coach Tamas Eszes said.

"...the result of Medal Race will not change the fact that she managed to get one of the (Olympic quota) spot (out of 2)," said Eszes, a two-time Olympian.

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Shroff said the event in Oman is being held under the aegis of Asian Sailing Federation.

Kumanan will be the 10th Indian to qualify for a sailing event in the Olympics, but all the earlier nine have been male athletes. The Indians to previously qualify were Nachhatar Singh Johal (2008), Shroff and Sumeet Patel (2004), F Tarapore and Cyrus Cama (1992), Kelly Rao (1988), Dhruv Bhandari (1984), Soli Contractor and A A Basith (1972).

Shroff said Kumanan is the only Indian so far to have booked a direct quota place by topping a qualifier while all the earlier nine Olympians made it by getting quotas that could not be filled up.

(With PTI Inputs)

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