Sailor Nethra secures Olympic berth in Laser Radial category

Nethra Kumanan on Friday secured a berth for India in the women’s ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) sailing competition in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. She finished fifth in the Last Chance Regatta in the coast off Hyeres in France, but claimed the slot available through World Sailing’s Emerging National Programme (ENP), thanks to others from ENP countries taking two places in the competition.
With Ebru Bolat (Romania) and Marilena Makri (Cyprus), both ENP sailors, securing the top two positions, Nethra had to ensure that she not only finish ahead of Ines Gmati (Tunisia), but also avoid being disqualified because of a racing incident. She managed that admirably, rising from ninth after the first leg to finish fifth.

Tatiana Drozdovskaya, a six-time Olympian from Belarus but competing as a neutral athlete, was locked in a battle with Slovenia’s Lin Pietikos for the overall third spot, but finished seventh in the medal race, to concede the third quota place to the latter. Had these two sailors taken a berth each, Nethra would have missed out on the Olympic ticket.

If the 26-year-old from Chennai gets selected to compete for India — and there is no reason the Yachting Association of India will not pick her — Paris 2024 be Nethra’s second successive Olympic Games. She had made her debut in Tokyo three years ago and finished 35th of 44 competitors.

The Last Chance Regatta, held during the 55th edition of Semaine Olympique Française from April 20, saw 66 athletes across 10 events securing Paris tickets. Vishnu Saravanan had confirmed his second successive Olympic Games with a good show in the ILCA World Championships in Australia earlier this year. There were nine other boats vying to get India quotas but none of them came close.

The placings

ICLA 6 (four spots, 33 entries): Nethra Kumanan fifth. Qualified.
Nacra 17 (four spots, 15 entries): Siddeshwar Doiphode and Ramya Saravanan 11th.
470 class (four spots, 28 entries): Shraddha Verma and Ravindra Kumar Sharma 18th, Uma Chouhan and Sudanshu Shekhar Dixit 21st.
49er (four spots, 30 entries): Anand Thakur and Satyam Rangad 20th, Prince Kursinkal Noble and Manu Francis 26th.
Formula Kite (five spots, 40 entries): Chitresh Tatha 34th.
IQ Foil (seven spots, 50 entries): Dayne Edgar Agnelo Coelho 43rd, Saurabh Kumar 47th, Aditya Sangwan 49th.