Mussanah (Oman), April 7 (IANS) Chennai-based Nethra Kumanan created history, becoming the first Indian woman sailor to secure an Olympic quota place by taking an unassailable lead in the Laser Radial event in the Mussanah Open Championship on Wednesday.
Thanks to Kumanan's massive 21-point lead over her closest competitor, all that the 22-year-old needs to do on Thursday is just complete the Medal race without any incident.
On Wednesday, Kumanan was in sublime form, finishing Race 9 and 10 in first and second positions, respectively. The first Indian woman to win a sailing World Cup medal last year has 18 nett points, while her nearest rival, Hong Kong's Stephanie Norton, is placed fourth with 41 points going into Thursday's Medal race.
An engineering student at the SRM College in Chennai, Kumanan has represented the country at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games in Incheon and Jakarta, respectively.
Kumanan said a one-and-a-half year coaching stint under Hungarian coach Tamas Eszes at Gran Canaria in Spain has made a big difference.
"In Grand Canaria, I trained with a lot of quality international sailors that helped me a lot," the winner of the Sailing World Cup series bronze in Miami last year said.
Meanwhile, the Indian duo of Varun Thakkar and KC Ganapathy finished on top in the 49er class after securing fourth, second and third places in Race 13, 14 and 15, respectively. The pair now needs to finish in the top six on Thursday to qualify for Tokyo.
Results (All Indians):
Laser radial: 1. Nethra Kumanan, 3. Ramya Saravanan, 5. Harshita Tomar.
Laser standard: 3. Vishnu Saravanan, 10. Upamanyu Dutta.
49er: Men: 1. Varun Thakar/KC Ganapathy.