In a historic first for India, four sailors from the country will compete in this year’s Olympics after Vishnu Saravanan and pair Ganapati Chengapa and Varun Thakar made a cut for Tokyo at the Asian qualifiers in Oman on Thursday.
This came after Nethra Kumanan on Wednesday became the first Indian female sailor to qualify for the Olympic Games in the laser radial event at the Mussanah Open, which is an Asian qualifying competition for Asia.
This is also the first time that India will compete in three sailing competitions at the Olympic Games.
So far, India has competed in only one event at all previous Olympics, although two sailors have represented the country four times.
“Yes, the story is written according to a script. Four Indian sailors have qualified for the Olympics to compete in three competitions. This is the maximum number of qualified sailors, as well as the number of events,” said the Secretary General of the Yachting Association. India captain Jitendra Dixit before PTI.
“Nethra already qualified on Wednesday and today Vishnu, and then the couple Ganapati and Varun did it.”
On Thursday, Saravanan was the first to qualify for the Tokyo Games in the Laser Standard Class after finishing second in the overall standings.
Later, the Chengapa-Thakar duo finished at the top of the table with points in the 49er Class. The two had won a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
“Congratulations to Indian athletes Nethra Kumanan, KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in sailing. I am especially proud of the quota of Nethra, the world’s first Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympics!” Tweet Minister of Sports Kiren Ridge.
Two sailors make up a team in class 49er, while the laser class is a single sailor event.
Also, two sailors qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in laser class competitions, while only one team can do so in the 49er class.
Saravanan was third until the penultimate day on Wednesday, but won the medal race on Thursday to jump to second overall with 53 points and book a quota for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Our competitors make a mark in all disciplines!” Said Ridge.
The Indian won the Thai Keerati Bualong (57 points), which was second until Wednesday, for the place in the Games in Tokyo.
Singaporean Ryan Lo Jun Han (31 points) was first overall in the Laser Standard Class table.
“Until Wednesday, Vishnu was third after the Thai sailor, although they were both on the same points. Today in the medal race Vishnu finished first and so naturally finished over the Thai sailor in the points table,” Dixit said.
“Two sailors qualified for the Olympic Games in the laser class and Vishnu finished second. The Singaporean sailor was well above Vishnu before today and so Vishnu could not displace him (from the highest position).”
Kumanan finished sixth in the laser radial class medal competition on Thursday, but still finished second with 30 points to confirm his place in the Olympics.
The Dutch Emma Savelon (29 points), who finished fourth in the medal race on Thursday, topped the standings, but cannot be considered a ranking in Asia.
Stephanie Norton of Hong Kong, who finished third, also qualified.
There were four cases of two Indian sailors qualifying for the Olympics earlier, but they were involved in the same event.
The Indian couple Farokh Tarapore and Dhruv Bhandari competed in the 470 class at the 1984 Olympics. Tarapore and Kelly Rao took part in the same event at the 1988 Games.
Tarapore – in his third Olympics – and Cyrus Kama competed in the same 470 class at the 1992 Barcelona Games, before Malaw Shrof and Sumeet Patel competed in the 49er class ski at the 2004 Athens Olympics. PTI PDS PM