On the 25th of January, 2020, Nethra Kumanan made national sporting history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a Sailing World Cup Medal. Participating in the Hempel World Series in Miami, Nethra won bronze in round two of the tournament. Erika Reineke of the United States of America and Vasilieia Karachaliou of Greece claimed the gold and silver respectively in the laser radial event.
Hailing from Chennai, the 22-year-old has represented India at both the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, finishing fourth at the latter event. Beginning her journey at a summer camp in her youth, Nethra quickly realised her love for the sport and has never looked back.
Training at the Canary Islands in Spain, Nethra explains that pushing yourself to the limits isn’t always the ideal road to athletic excellence.
“I try to train smart rather than overworking myself. For my training to be effective, I try to do my best to approach every session with as much focus and concentration as I can, and physically, I do as much as my body can take, and recover from as well.”
While physical strain may be part and parcel of the life of an athlete, Nethra reveals the toll that her illustrious career has had upon her mental health.
“Sailing is a sport that requires mental grit too, something that has been a weakness for me so far,” She explains.
However, her win at the Hempel World Series has restored the athlete’s faith in her abilities.
“It was a surprise and took a while to hit me, but I was obviously happy- more because I succeeded just a little bit with my goals for the regatta, which were more of a mental nature- It motivates me to keep working knowing I’m doing something right,” Nethra explains.
The young athlete’s incredible achievement has been lauded around the nation, with fans and supporters celebrating the win with fervour. However, the athlete herself decided against joining in the merriment, instead focusing her attention on the Olympic qualifiers to be held in March of this year.
An inspiration to young boys and girls all over the country, when asked for a piece of advice she would give the future generations of sailors, Nethra reveals a modest, ambitious side of her personality.
“Every endeavor takes a lot of time, work, effort, persistence, and grit. To quote Vince Lombardi, ‘Winning isn’t everything but wanting to win is!’”
TheVibe congratulates the young athlete and wishes her luck for her future undertakings.
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