Tokyo 2020: Sailors Varun, Ganapathy want to hire coach Warren's services

India sailors Varun Thakkar and K.C. Ganapathy said it will be difficult to push themselves to the next level and perform well at the Olympics if coach Ian Stuart Warren is not around in the next three months.

Varun Thakkar and K.C. Ganapathy

FILE PHOTO: Sailors Varun Thakkar (left) and K.C. Ganapathy in Chennai on September 11, 2018.   -  The Hindu

Olympic-bound Indian sailors Varun Thakkar and K.C. Ganapathy want to continue training under experienced Australian coach Ian Stuart Warren, who helped the duo qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Varun and Ganapathy believe it will be tough to push themselves to the next level and perform well at the quadrennial event if Warren is not around for the next three months.

"We have been working with (Warren). We are the fifth team that he has helped qualify for the Olympics. The experience he brings in helps in keeping our mind calm," Varun said during a virtual press-conference conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

He added, "We work with him privately. We take money from our parents and hire him during big events... so we want to have him at the Games as well. Not having him for the next three months will be a little difficult for us."

Varun and Ganapathy had qualified for the Olympics in the 49er category after topping the field at the Mussanah Open Sailing Championships last month.

Asked if Yachting Association of India (YAI) has decided on the allocation of coaches, Varun said, "We have requested for our coach to come. Nethra (Kumanan) and Vishnu (Saravanan) have different coaches and we have a different coach.

"Nethra has worked with Alex (Alexandra Danisic), who is Vishnu's coach. Nethra's coach will be with the Greece team. So we have asked for Alex and Bunny Warren to be at the Games for the four of us.

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"YAI and SAI are working on it and hopefully we should have a positive result."

Varun and Ganapathy, who were included in the TOPS scheme last month, are also waiting for things to clear up regarding their tour of Portugal in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Right now six to seven teams, who have already qualified are training in Portugal and we intend to join them," Varun said.

"With the travel restrictions, we have been briefed about it, but we are waiting to see what happens in the next few weeks or so."

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Asked what happens if they fail to travel to Portugal due to the COVID-19, Varun said: "Because major cities have shut down, we will head back to Rameswaram. We are happy with the place, there is not much infrastructure and we need to be in the waters. But we hope Portugal happens."

With COVID-19 disrupting sports, the Indian duo qualified late, just five months from the Olympics but Ganapathy said it never bothered them.

"In March 2020, we were little light for the boat. Our boat has a certain weight category. It performs best at around 160kgs and in Abu Dhabi last year, we were 7-8 kgs lower," he said.

"The lockdown helped to gain the required weight. Varun worked at the gym to gain weight, so the lockdown was a blessing in disguise."

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