India receives Finland boost ahead of sailing selection trials

Jyrke Jarvi, the 2000 Olympics gold-medallist in the 49er class, has been brought in to assist India’s national coach Ian Stuart Warren “to intensify the training” ahead of the selection trials for the Asian sailing championships.

‘Bunny’ Warren (left) and Jyrke Jarvis will oversee a preparatory camp until April 14 in Chennai.   -  R. Ravindran

The selection trials for the Asian sailing championships in Jakarta in June, will be held here from April 17 to 22.

Chief National coach Ian Stuart Warren said the top two teams in each category here will qualify for the event in June; the best teams from the championships will qualify for the Asian Games in August, also to be held in Jakarta.

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There’s an ongoing preparatory camp until April 14 here. And Jyrke Jarvi of Finland, the 2000 Olympics gold-medallist in the 49er class, has been brought in to assist Warren, popularly known as ‘Bunny’ Warren. “We’re now working on specialising more in the classes we know we have good winning chances. There are a few classes, like the 49er, 49erFX, Laser, Laser Radial, and Laser 4.7, in which we have good chances,” said Warren on Thursday.

Jyrke said his help is more focused on the 49er and the 49erFX classes.

Stronger winds, bigger waves

On how the wind and the sea state is expected to be in Jakarta, he said, “We think there’s gonna be stronger winds there. The sea state may be a little flatter there, because the waves here can be quite big. So, we’re trying to intensify the training. That’s why Jyrke is here.”

Warren said the highly-rated pair, K. C. Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar of the TNSA (Tamil Nadu Sailing Association) is a good medal prospect in the 49er class. He said Ganapathy had recently undergone surgery for a shoulder injury in Mumbai, and quickly assured that the sailor is in good shape now.

Shorter courses

On the striking changes since his competing days in the sport now, Jyrke said, “Now, more sailors [are in the sport]. There are 10 Olympic classes. Races are more intense. Race courses are shorter. There are more races. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, the race courses were longer and we had lesser races in the regattas. The thing with shorter courses is that the racing becomes more intense that one has to make quicker decisions. I think shorter courses are to make the sport more spectator-friendly.”

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Warren said India has a large talent pool, yet to be fully tapped. He spoke of the need for a long-term vision. “We need to make sure that the skills and what we’re trying to teach the top sailors is also filtering down to the sailors at the grassroots level. It’s surprising to see a lot of people sailing in India. It’s a lot more than people outside India probably imagine. I don’t think that potential isn’t being tapped enough.

“And we’ve got to be working with sailors for the future. Not the immediate future – say, just for the upcoming Asian Games. Rather than focusing on one or two events for short periods beforehand, there has to be an overall strategic plan for, say, 12 or 16 years.”