The athlete performed brilliantly in the Mussanah Open Championship.

Ace Indian sailor Nethra Kumanan scripted history on Thursday as she qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The Chennai-based athlete became the first Indian woman sailor to secure a direct entry into the Olympic Games.

Incidentally, she is the 10th Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympic Games. The nine sailors who had previously qualified for the Games were all male. They had qualified for the Olympics through quota places. However, they didn’t fill those places through qualifiers. As a result, Nethra Kumanan is the first sailor to secure direct entry. 

The previous Indian sailors to have qualified at the Olympics were Nachhatar Singh Johal (2008), Shroff and Sumeet Patel (2004), F Tarapore and Cyrus Cama (1992), Kelly Rao (1988), Dhruv Bhandari (1984), Soli Contractor and AA Basith (1972).

She participated in Laser Radial event

Nethra Kumanan achieved this remarkable feat in the Laser Radial event at the Mussanah Open Championship. It is a joint Asian and African Olympic qualifying event that took place in Oman. She grabbed the first spot with an unassailable lead. The Indian sailor bagged a 21-point lead over the chasing pack had almost ensured her qualification to the Olympics with the final race to take place on Thursday. 

For the uninitiated, a small, dinghy-style boats are used single-handedly in the laser radial class. The major challenge in this class is that the physical and technical ability of the sailors are duly tested. But the Indian sailor, over the years, has proved that she belongs to the waters. 

Nethra Kumanan, an engineering student at the SRM college in Chennai, is also the first Indian woman to win a medal (bronze) in sailing at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series in Miami. Besides that she has also represented the nation at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games.

The Indian sailor will look to improve her performance at the Tokyo Olympics and bring laurels to her country.

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