Nethra Kumanan becomes first Indian woman sailor to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

India’s Nethra Kumanan has virtually qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the laser radial class of the Asian Olympic qualification championships.

India’s Nethra Kumanan has virtually qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the laser radial class of the Asian Olympic qualification championships.   -  FACEBOOK/NETHRA KUMANAN

India’s Nethra Kumanan has virtually qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the laser radial class of the Asian Olympic qualification championships here on Wednesday. The 23-year-old sailed wonderfully well on the penultimate day to finish races nine and ten in first and second positions respectively.

The Indian pair of Varun Thakkar and K.C. Ganapathy finished on top in the 49er class by securing fourth, second and third places in races 13, 14 and 15 respectively. For the duo to qualify, it has to finish in the top six on Thursday.

Nethra has 18 nett points while her nearest Asian competitor Ramya Saravanan, who was in third place with 39 points. The least Nethra has to do is complete the race on Thursday.

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Nethra, who has made it to Tokyo with a race to spare, said: "On the one side it's been a dream-come-true moment for me and on the other side, it's just one step/race tomorrow (Thursday) to  finish."

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The 23-year-old of Tamil Nadu Sailing Association, said coaching under Hungarian coach Tamas Eszes for the last one-and-a-half years at Gran Canaria in Spain has proved to be invaluable. "In Grand Canaria, I trained with a lot of quality International sailors that helped me a lot," said the World Cup bronze medallist, the first Indian woman to do so.

Nethra’s nearest competitor is her country-mate Ramya Saravanan, who is in third place with 39 nett points, which is a huge difference of 21 points. The least Nethra has to do is complete the race.

The results (Indians):

49er: Men: 1. Varun Thakar & K.C. Ganapathy; Women: 4. Ekta Yadav & Ritika Dangi; laser radial: 1. Nethra Kumanan, 3. Ramya Saravanan, 5. Harshita Tomar; laser standard: 3. Vishnu Saravanan, 10. Upamanyu Dutta; Windsurfing: RS:X: Men: 6. Jerome Kumar, 7. Ebad Ali; RS:X: Women: 3. Ishwariya Ganesh.

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