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Nethra Kumanan became the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics on Wednesday, April 7, after she was assured of a top-place finish in the laser radial event of the Asian Qualifiers in Oman.
The 23-year-old Kumanan, who has qualified, has a 21-point advantage over her nearest rival, Ramya Saravanan, who also happens to be an Indian.
Presently, Chennai-based Kumanan has 18 points while Saravanan has 39 on the penultimate day of competitions in Mussanah Open Championship, which is a joint Asian and African Olympic qualifying event.
In sailing, the athlete who secures the least points wins the competition. The final race on Thursday is a 20 pointer, and Kumanan has now just one round to go.
Laser Radial is a singlehanded boat, which means that it is sailed by only one person.
Asian Sailing Federation President Malav Shroff confirmed that Kumanan has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with one race to go on the final day.
Shroff, who himself represented India in the Olympic sailing event in the 2004 Athens Games, said that the final race is a 20 pointer but the point gap with her nearest Asian rival is more than 20, reported The NewsMinute.
Dutchwoman Emma Charlotte Jeanne Savelon is currently in the second spot, above Saravanan. She stands at a three-point difference with Kumanan, but she is nowhere in the scene for Olympics qualification from this event as this is an Asian Qualifier.
Shroff further added that the event in Oman is being held under the aegis of the Asian Sailing Federation.
Kumanan will be the 10th Indian to qualify for a sailing event in the Olympics. Earlier, all those who have qualified are male athlet
Shroff said Kumanan is the only Indian till now to have booked a direct quota place by topping a qualifier. All the earlier nine Olympians made it by getting quotas that could not be filled up, added Shroff.
He also said that two other Indians are still in the fray for Tokyo Olympics qualification on the last day on Thursday.
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