Vishnu Saravanan, Ganapathy-Varun pair qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Four Indian sailors will compete at the Olympics after Vishnu Saravanan and the pair of Ganapathy Chengappa and Varun Thakkar made the cut for Tokyo in the Asian Qualifiers in Oman.

Sailors who made it to the Olympics. From Left: K.C. Ganapathy, Varun Thakkar (49er) and Nethra Kumanan (laser radial).   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The pair of Varun Thakkar and K. C. Ganapathy and Vishnu Saravanan qualified for Tokyo Olympics in the 49er and laser standard classes respectively in the Asian Olympic sailing championships, which concluded here on Thursday.

Vishnu did exceedingly well by finishing first in the final medal race and second overall behind Singapore's Ryan Lo Jun Han. On the other hand, the Varun-Ganapathy duo had to finish in the top six in the medal race to make the grade, but the duo finished fourth and first overall to qualify.

Meanwhile, Nethra Kumanan officially qualified for Tokyo by finishing sixth in the final race, thereby finishing second overall and first among the Asians in the laser radial class.

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

Nethra finished behind Emma Charlotte Savelon of the Netherlands, who finished first overall. With the Dutch being a non-Asian, Nethra attained first place. Nethra became the first Indian woman to qualify for the quadrennial event.

Ramya Saravanan, too, had a chance to make it to Tokyo had she finished behind Nethra in the overall standings. Placed overnight third overall and second among Asians, Ramya ended up in eighth place in the medal race and finished sixth overall thereby missing the bus.

Varun and Ganapathy were thrilled, to say the least. “We got the result we wanted. All our hard work has paid off. We are grateful for all the people who supported us. It was a shaky [final] race, but we did it. Now the work starts,” they said.

Vishnu was in a tougher position comparatively. He had to finish first in the medal race to make the grade and he pulled it off in great style. “I was nervous and emotional before and after the race. During the race, I was feeling my heartbeat. I was telling myself ‘Vishnu--be in the present’ It now feels great to be part of history," he said.

The Asian qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics here called the Mussanah Open has offered two qualification spots each in the laser radial and laser standard classes, while one Asian spot in the rest of the classes.