PETALING JAYA: India’s sailor Nethra Kumanan is not just looking to compete in the Olympics but she hopes to inspire the future generation to take up sailing in her country.
The 23-year-old engineering student from Chennai is the first female sailor to represent India at the Olympics and will take part in the laser radial race at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour.
Despite being a debutant, she has been listed as one of five sailors to watch out for at the Games. The others are two-time world champion Hannah Mills (Eng), Santiago Lange (Arg), Kiran Badloe (Ned) and Blancha Manchon (Spa).
Nethra qualified for the Games by winning the laser radial event in the Mussanah Open in Oman in April.
She hopes her participation in Tokyo will help popularise the sport in her country.
“Most people don’t know sailing exists in India. Our sports are cricket, football or hockey, and it’s more the navy or the army that sail,” she said.
“I hope through my participation there will be more interest among the youngsters in my country,” added Nethra, who will compete alongside Malaysia’s Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif.