In a historic achievement for Indian sailing, Vishnu Saravanan clinched the first Paris Olympic quota for India in the ILCA7 class after finishing 26th at the World ILCA7 Championship held in Adelaide, Australia on Wednesday.
Vishnu's commendable performance placed him in the 5th position among non-qualified sailors, securing one of the seven Paris Olympic quota places available for the 2024 Olympics.
The journey to qualification was not without its challenges for Vishnu. Despite narrowly missing out on opportunities at the World Sailing Championships in 2023, where he finished 23rd in the effective race to Paris ranking, and at the Asian Games last year, where he claimed a bronze medal but fell short of a quota, Vishnu remained determined.
During the World ILCA7 Championship, Vishnu demonstrated his prowess with five consecutive top-ten finishes. Although he faced challenges in the last three races, missing out on the medal race, he secured the much-awaited Paris Olympic quota.
Vishnu Saravanan had previously showcased his sailing skills at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where he won a bronze medal by winning three out of his 11 races. However, the quota was available only for the top-placed sailor, eluding him. Similarly, at the Asian Championships in December the same year, he narrowly missed both the medal and the quota, finishing in the fourth position after podium finishes in four out of his 10 races.
The 2024 Paris Olympics will see Vishnu representing India in sailing, and his achievement has raised hopes for an increased Indian presence in the sport. The Last Chance Regatta, scheduled from April 18 to April 27 later this year in Hyères, France, provides another opportunity for Indian sailors to secure the Paris Olympic quota places.
India had four representations in sailing at the previous Olympics, and with Vishnu Saravanan's success, the nation aims to increase its presence in this edition, showcasing the growing prominence of Indian sailors on the global stage.