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India win three medals in sailing at Asian Games

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 31, 2018 16:46 IST
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India's Harshita Tomar waves the Indian flag after her sailing race in the Open Laser 4.7 Race 12 event at the Indonesia National Sailing Center in Jakarta on Friday

IMAGE: 49er sailing bronze medallists Varun Ashok Thakkar and KC Ganpati. Photograph: PTI

India recorded its best showing in sailing at Asian Games as Varsha Gautham and Sweta Shervegar claimed silver in 49er FX event while two men combined to overcome disqualification in their previous race to grab a bronze, in Jakarta, on Friday.

Thanks to their showings, the country enjoyed its best result since 1982. In 1982, India won a gold in fireball, a silver in enterprise and a bronze in windglider.


For Varsha, it was her second Asiad medal as she had won a bronze in 29er with Aishwarya Nedunchezhiyan in the 2014 edition.

Varsha and Sweta were not chosen by the federation to represent India and only after a court battle did they reach the Indonesian capital.

At the helm of her 49erFX, 20-year-old Varsha and her crew partner Sweta, completed the 15-race event with 40 net points to finish second behind winners from Singapore, who had just 14 net points.

Sailors are given points after each race, and the pair, which gets the least points, is declared the winner.

"These were stressful three months. But everything has paid off. There were a lot of up and down. A lot happened. At least 10 times I thought, it's not worth it, I can't handle it but somehow I continued. It was certainly not a glamorous race, there was pressure," Varsha said.

"And there was a realistic chance of losing today, but we stayed clam," Varsha said, adding that they needed donations and crowd funding to pursue their passion.

Varun Ashok Thakkar and K C Ganapathy clinched a bronze medal in 49er event after finishing third with 43 net points, missing the silver by just half a point.


IMAGE: 49er FX sailing silver medallists Varsha Gautham and Sweta Shervegar. Photograph: PTI

They were disqualified in the penultimate race (14th) but held their nerves to win the final race on Friday.

"We could have won a gold if we were not disqualified on Thursday. There was no incident and there was false protest by Japan," said Ganapathy.

The 16-year-old Harshita was already assured of a bronze in the Open Laser 4.7 competition and even if she had not competed in today's race, it would not have made any difference to her result.

She totalled 62 points after race 12.

"It is a great feeling to win a medal for the country. I can't explain it. It has been a great learning experience for me," Harshita, a former swimmer, said after winning the medal.

Govind Bairagi finished fourth in the Open Laser 4.7, while Nethra Kumanan finished in fifth place in Laser Radial Sailing event.

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