Tokyo Olympics: Nethra Kumanan, first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the biggest sporting event
Nethra Kumanan became the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics
Mussanah: Nethra Kumanan on Wednesday became the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics. The achievement came after she was assured of a top-place finish in the laser radial event of the Asian Qualifiers in Oman.
Thanks to Kumanan's massive 21-point lead over the chasing pack, all that the 22-year-old needs to do on Thursday is complete the Medal race without any incident. For those who don't know, Laser Radial is a singlehanded boat, which means that it is sailed by only one person.
On Wednesday, Kumanan was in sublime form, finishing Race 9 and 10 in first and second positions, respectively.
Asian Sailing Federation President Malav Shroff
who himself represented India in Olympic sailing event in Athens 2004 event talking to PTI said, "Yes, Kumanan has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with one race to go on the final day on Thursday."
“The final race is a 20 pointer but the point gap with her nearest Asian rival, also an Indian, is more than 20,” he added. She will be the 10th Indian to qualify for a sailing event in the Olympics but previous all nine have been male athletes. According to Shroff, Kumanan is the only Indian so far to have booked a direct quota place by topping a qualifier while all the earlier Olympians made it by getting quotas that could not be filled up.
Kumanan, who pursues engineering at the SRM College in Chennai has represented India at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games in Incheon and Jakarta, respectively.
Soon after she booked her place for the world's biggest sporting event, sports fans took to Twitter to congratulate her.
Meanwhile, the Indian duo of Varun Thakkar and KC Ganapathy finished on top in the 49er class after securing fourth, second and third places in Race 13, 14 and 15, respectively. The pair now needs to finish in the top six on Thursday to qualify for Tokyo.
(With agency inputs)