The Indian sailing team on Tuesday (July 13) became the first from the country’s contingent to arrive here for the Olympics which opens on July 23. The pictures of the Indian sailing team comprising Varun Thakkar, Ganapathy Chengappa, Vishnu Saravanan and Nethra Kumanan and their coaches arriving at the Haneda airport were put up by Sports Authority of India. Nethra Kumanan will compete in the laser radial event, Vishnu Saravanan in laser standard class and the pair of Varun Thakkar and Ganapathy Chengappa in 49er class.
The sailing competition starts on July 25. For the first time in history, a record four sailors will represent India at the Games. This is also the first time that the country will field sailors in three events.
Prior to their departure for Tokyo on Monday (July 12), the sailors had been training in different countries across Europe, which were funded by the government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
While Nethra was training in Spain, the duo of Thakkar and Ganapathy were preparing for the Games in Portugal. Saravanan was in Malta for his Olympics preparations.
Since they arrived here from Europe, they will not be facing the stricter restrictions imposed on the other athletes arriving from India in view of the COVID-19 situation in the country. India had competed in only one event in the previous editions while two sailors represented the country on four occasions.
Nethra was the first to make the cut as she became the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Games in laser radial class. She achieved the rare feat during the Mussanah Open Championship which is an Asian Olympic qualifying event.
Then, Saravanan and the pair of Ganapathy and Thakkar qualified during the Asian Qualifiers in Oman. Sararavan finished second in the overall standings in the event to secure a berth for the Games. In the 49er class, Chengappa and Thakkar finished on the top of the points table that earned them the Olympic berth.
Daily coronavirus testing and the wearing of masks are among the strict precautions that will be enforced on all athletes and officials when they stay at the Athletes’ Village. Olympic delegations started to arrive in Japan at the beginning of July for pre-games camps, with over 2,200 expected to enter the country through this week.
Olympic host city Tokyo entered a new state of emergency on Monday, less than two weeks before the Games open.