From dancer to sailor: Olympics-bound Nethra Kumanan’s journey


Nethra Kumanan is a sailor with an inventive aptitude. The 22-year-old engineering pupil from Chennai, who grew to become the primary Indian girl sailor to earn a berth for the Olympics on Wednesday, is a educated dancer, singer, and proficient painter as properly.

The second-year BE mechanical engineering pupil etched her identify within the historical past books by incomes the elusive ticket due to her exploits within the Laser Radial race on the Mussanah Open Championship in Oman, an Asian and African qualifier. On Thursday, Nethra completed second behind Emma Charlotte Jeanne Savelon of the Netherlands. She had all however sealed the Olympic spot a day earlier due to factors earned in earlier rounds and the medal was an added bonus.

Although Nethra was disillusioned in lacking out on the gold medal, she was relieved. “I could have done better and chased (Emma) her but I lost out due to some errors that I could not rectify. I am really happy about earning an Olympic berth. I hope this inspires other young women to take up sailing,” Nethra informed The Indian Express.

Nethra along with her coach Tamas Eszes and fogeys.

It was a memorable competitors for the entire Indian crusing contingent as three others certified for the Tokyo Olympics: Vishnu Saravanan (Laser Standard Class) and the pair of Ganapathy Chengappa and Varun Thakkar (49er Class).

Nethra, who has been coaching in Spain for the final 12 months and a half, developed an curiosity within the sport throughout a summer season camp at school. The soft-spoken athlete had tried her hand at varied sports activities like tennis, basketball and biking earlier than discovering her real love, crusing. To take up crusing critically she had to surrender on Bharatanatyam lessons.

“I still think Bharatanatyam has taught me a lot. Discipline, hard work and dedication are things I have learnt from the dance form and something that helps me even today,” mentioned Nethra who educated for six years below famend guru Alarmel Valli.

Nethra Kumanan throughout a dance efficiency along with her group (excessive proper entrance row)

During her coaching stints, Nethra is commonly shuttling from Chennai to Spain whereas managing her faculty classes on-line. “She trains in Europe for a month and comes back home to stay a couple of months before heading back,” mentioned father VC Kumanan, who runs a software program firm.

“It’s a matter of great joy that not only her but the others from the Indian team have also qualified. Even though we knew Nethra would pull it off, I was still tense till the last moment. As soon as she qualified I was relieved and glad,” Nethra’s father added.

Last 12 months due to COVID-related journey restrictions, Nethra was caught in Spain. In hindsight, the teenager feels it was a superb studying expertise however again then she grew terribly homesick.

Nethra’s t-shirt work

“It was one of the toughest periods for me. I was missing my home and friends a lot. So this time when we went to Oman my family came along,” she mentioned.

Nethra has been across the crusing circuit. She had taken half within the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta Asian Games however she got here into the limelight after successful a bronze on the Hempel World Cup Series, Miami, in January final 12 months. It was a feather in her cap as she was the primary Indian girl to win a World Cup medal in crusing.

Nethra credit her success solely to her father VC Kumanan who has backed her to the hilt even throughout essentially the most testing instances.

“If I am anything today it is due to my father. He has always backed me and is still funding my training. I usually get a little stressed out before competitions but since my parents were here (in Oman) I did not have to deal with that this time. I think I performed better because they were here,” mentioned Nethra.



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