Mussanah Open sailing: Nethra Kumanan in pole position to clinch Olympic berth

India is in with a chance to secure as many as three Olympic sailing quotas heading into the final day of the Mussanah Open.

By Utathya Nag ·

Indian sailor Nethra Kumanan produced some fine performances in the Laser Radial category on Day 5 of the Mussanah Open Championship 2021 in Oman to virtually seal her spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

The team of KC Ganapathy (Helm) and Varun Thakkar (Crew), in 49er class, are also in pole position to secure a Tokyo berth heading into Thursday's medal round

On Wednesday, Nethra Kumanan finished first in race nine and second in race 10 to keep the chasing pack at bay in Laser Radial. She will head into the medal races with a net total of 18, while Emma Charlotte Jeanne Savelon of the Netherlands, her closest competitor, is on 21.

Though the Laser Radial class has two Olympic quota places on offer for Asian sailors, only one can go to a particular country. Second-placed Savelon is not in the reckoning for the Olympic berths since she is from the Netherlands – a European country.

Nethra's closest competitors for a Tokyo spot are fellow Indian Ramya Saravanan, in third place with 39 net total points, and Hong Kong's Stephanie Norton, fourth with 41 points. However, neither can usurp her since the medal race allows to close the deficit by a maximum of 20 points, even if Nethra doesn't finish.

Ganapathy and Thakkar, meanwhile, started the day with a fourth-place finish in Race 13 but recovered by coming in second and third in Race 14 and 15, respectively.

The two podium finishes helped them retain their top spot in 49er class despite a solid charge by Hong Kong’s Akira Sakai and Russel Williams Aylsworth, who pulled off a hat-trick of first-place finishes on Day 5 to rise to second.

The Indians are on a total of 61 points while the Hong Kong sailors have a net total of 78.

Though they are positioned very favourably, Ganapathy-Thakkar will need to be wary on the final day to secure their Tokyo berth.

Vishnu Saravanan, in the Laser Standard event, slipped down a place to third after a disappointing Day 5 but is still with a chance if he can leapfrog Thailand’s Keerati Bualong into second spot and hold off the chasing pack featuring China’s Wu Jiannan and Hong Kong’s Nick Bezy.

Singapore’s Ryan Lo Jun Han has virtually confirmed the pole position in the event with a 34 point lead.

How does the scoring system work at Mussanah Open?

At the Mussanah Open sailing competition, a total of 15 races are being held as the preliminary rounds of the 49er and 49erFX classes, 12 races for RSX Men and RSX Women events and 10 races for Laser Standard and Laser Radial categories.

Points are awarded on the basis of rank in each race. The first-place holder gets one point, second-placed sailor two and so forth. Hence, lower is better.

After all the races in the preliminary round are over, points of the races, barring one worst finish, are added to determine the standing for a net total.

The top sailors in each category move to the final day’s medal races, which carry double points.

At the end of the medal race, the final standing is determined after adding the medal race points to the preliminary standings.

The Mussanah Open 2021 - an Asian qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics - offers two qualification spots each in the Laser Radial and Laser Standard classes, while one Asian spot is up for grabs in all the other classes.

Indian sailors standings at Mussanah Open after Day 5

Laser Radial class

1. Nethra Kumanan – 18 points net total

3. Ramya Saravanan – 39 points net total

5. Harshita Tomar – 43 points net total

12. Jayalakshmi Sundaravadivel – 101 points net total

Laser Standard class

3. Vishnu Saravanan – 51 points net total

10. Upamanyu Dutta – 76 points net total

12. Mohit Saini – 81 points net total

14. Gitesh – 101 points net total

17. Ram Milan Yadav – 143 points net total

49er class

1. KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar – 61 points net total

11. Prince Noble and Manu Francis – 135 points net total

12. Sandip Jain and Munna Pandit – 138 points net total

49er FX class

4. Ekta Yadav and Ritika Dangi – 47 points net total

RS:X Men class

6. Jerome Savarimuthu – 65 points net total

7. Ebad Ali – 66 points net total

RS:X Women class

3. Ishwariya Ganesh – 33 points net total