New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) Olympics-bound sailors Nethra Kumanan and Vishnu Saravanan on Thursday said they would be taking part in the upcoming Tokyo Games without much expectations, treating it as just a learning exercise.
In a historic first, four Indian sailors -- Saravanan (Laser Standard), Kumanan (Laser Radial) and Vishnu Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar (49er Skiff) -- made the Olympics cut during the Asian Qualifiers in Oman earlier this month. It's also the first time that India will compete in three sailing events in the Olympics.
'We will go to the Games without a lot of expectation. We will see where we stand against the world level. This will be a great learning process for us,' Kumanan said in a virtual media interaction, facilitated by the Sports Authority of India.
Saravanan said it would be important for them to remain cool like former national cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni when they compete in the upcoming Tokyo Games.
'I will be happy to finish in the top 50 per cent. There's no pressure because we know we're not there yet. We are young and have room to learn more. The whole nation has so much hope on us but we have to be cool-minded like MS Dhoni and do our job,' he said.
The Indian sailors had a training camp, funded to the tune of Rs 1.29 crore by the Sports Ministry, in Oman for 15 days before the Olympics qualifying event.
For the Olympic cycle beginning 2017, the Ministry has extended funding to the sailors through the Yachting Association of India. A sum of Rs 12.11 crore was given as part of the Annual Competition and Training Calendar (ACTC).
Asked how she felt after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Kumanan said, 'We are excited that finally the Olympic dream has been achieved. It's a huge step to be at the Olympics.
'It has brought a lot of light to the sport of sailing and I hope many people take it up. I'm also honoured to be the first woman sailor from India to make it to the Olympics.' Saravanan, on his part, said, 'Qualification in Oman drained a lot of energy from us. We have trained hard and knew our boat speed is good. The Olympic qualification brought a lot of recognition to sailing and help in years to come. Thanks to the Sports Authority of India for selecting us in (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) TOPS,' he said.
'It gets expensive at a high level and we want new equipments and the sailing community is producing new equipments every day. We have to train with the top guys and we need lot of budgeting.' Kumanan added, 'Being in TOPS will provide much benefits for our travelling expenses. We are extremely grateful for this and this will give us an extra incentive to perform our best at the Olympics.' PTI PDS PDS SSC SSC