Nethra Kumanan, Harshita Tomar keep the wind in their sails amid lockdown

Both Nethra Kumanan and Harshit Tomar were supposed to compete at the Asian Championships in March, which had two Olympic quotas on offer.

By Subhayan Dutta ·

Promising Indian sailors and Olympic hopes Nethra Kumanan and Harshita Tomar are focused on physical and mental fitness amid the lockdown that has made waters off-limit for them.

After the coronavirus outbreak stalled all international sporting events, including the Asian sailing Olympic qualifiers scheduled to begin on March 15 in Abu Dhabi, Harshita Tomar returned to India while Nethra Kumanan left for her training centre in Gran Canaria, Spain.

However, while the lockdown hasn’t allowed them sailing practice, the athletes are nevertheless ensuring that they stay in top condition when they get back to waterways.

"We have our cardio sessions on a daily basis. There are sessions on balance and coordination as they are the key for any sailor," Nethra Kumanan told the Times of India.

The Asian Sailing Championships supposed to be held in Abu Dhabi had two Olympic quotas 

For 17-year-old Harshita Tomar, who competes in the laser radial category, the challenge is to reach a weight of above 60kgs that will help her operate her boat swiftly.

“When I won the Asiad medal, I was around 47kg but the sails of that boat were different,” Harshita Tomar explained to The Indian Express.

“Now, they are bigger, which means I need to be physically strong to manoeuvre the boat,” said the Bhopal teenager.

Harshita Tomar’s coach GL Yadav, who is supervising her muscle-gain diet, believes that the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist will need to weigh around 65kg to meet her boat’s requirement.

“She has to put on additional weight and develop muscular power as well to counter the wind pressure on the sails,” GL Yadav added.

“A dedicated physiotherapist is also working with her to ensure she stays fit for the upcoming events,” the Sailing Performance and Development Committee (SPDC) member pointed out.

Staying mentally strong

After putting on an impressive performance to become the first Indian woman sailor to win a medal at the Sailing World Cup earlier this year, Nethra Kumanan is hoping to start sailing soon.

"I can't wait to be back in the waters," she said.

However, the 22-year-old has a psychologist at hand to keep her mentally strong.

“Mon Brokman has rich experience of working with sailors in the past and it's a big plus. I also make sure to stay in touch with my friends in the Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSA) and family members," she added.

 A younger Harshit Tomar, on the other hand, is a regular at the attending online classes organized by the Yachting Association of India (YAI), where Polish coach Tomasz Januszewski deals with every aspect concerned with sailing.

“The classes deal with issues like physical and mental fitness apart from nutrition and hydration, both on and off the water,” Harshit Tomar revealed.