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Meet Nethra Kumanan, India’s First Woman Sailor To Qualify For The Olympics

April 08, 2021 | by Mitali Shah

Here’s an unpopular opinion. It’s a great time in history to be a woman. Now, before you think I am insane, hear me out. Yes, we are being hunted (figuratively) and violence against our gender is on the rise but on the other hand, we also get to experience so much history being created. Think about it. Women are finally venturing away from traditional gender norms and building a career and a life for themselves. Every profession that was once thought to be “only a man’s job” now has women in leading positions. Take sports for instance. Right now, sportswomen are at the top of their games. So much so, that a woman from Chennai has just become the first Indian woman sailor to qualify for the Olympics. We love everything about this!

23-year-old Nethra Kumanan, on Thursday, did what no woman has been able to do before. She qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by coming first at the Laser Radial event in the Mussanah Open Championship. Nethra is the 10th Indian sailor to be participating in the Olympics. The nine sailor’s before her though were all male. She is the first Indian woman sailor. However, Nethra is the first Indian sailor ever to directly earn qualification for the Olympics through a qualifying competition. The ones that came before her made it to the Olympics to fill up the quotas that could not be occupied. Nethra is making history here and we are all for it.

Also Read: These Sportswomen Have Already Secured A Spot At The 2020 Tokyo Olympics. They’re Already Champions!

In her Laser Radial event on Wednesday, Nethra took an unassailable lead. She had a 21-point advantage over her nearest competitor, who also happened to be an Indian woman. Nethra had 18 points while her rival, Ramya Saravanan had 39 points. This almost ensured her qualification to the Olympics. Her win in Thursday’s event just confirmed it. Just to clarify, in sailing the athlete with the least points wins the competition.

Nethra is an engineering student based in Chennai. Specializing in the Laser Radial Class event of sailing, She has already represented India at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games in Incheon and Jakarta, respectively. Nethra also became the first Indian woman to win a World Cup medal in sailing when she clinched a bronze medal at the 2020 Sailing World Cup in Miami, USA. And now, she will represent our country in the Olympics as the first Indian woman sailor. Nethra is continuously making us proud.

More power to her!


Mitali Shah

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