Preethi Kongara, 17 and Jhansi Priya, 15 bag Silver and Bronze medals at the final Asian Games Trials at Bombay Harbour in the Olympic 470 Mixed and Asian Games Laser Class respectively
Jhansi opened her series with a bang winning the first race after having judged the complex Bombay tidal conditions brilliantly but with many unforced errors and bad starts in subsequent races ended up with a Bronze Medal behind the more experienced Rithika Dangi and Neha Thakur of Bhopal. She is however a year younger and could well qualify for the 2023 Asiad at China in the qualifiers coming up.
Preethi Kongara was in lower form compared to the 2nd trials held just a week earlier where she won a comfortable Gold. Being the top seed nerves got the better of her and Naval officer crew Sudanshu Shekhar making them anxious and they badly lost a few races and were unable to recover giving the Sharma and Uma Chauhan pair an unassailable lead to clinch Gold.
Preethi and Sudanshu were placed 3rd and 4 points behind Ramya and Reddy at the beginning of the last day of racing when they regained form and beat them significantly to down them by 4 points in the final tally to win the Silver much to the dismay of Ramya Sarvanan and Reddy who settled for Silver.
“We lost coordination and made too many mistakes in the first 2 days of the championship and by the time it was too late to come back at the top “, said Preethi , “but we saved our silver on the last day and that was a bitter sweet end “, she continued.
With the Asian Games postponed and no clear date the Yachting Association of India is bound to hold another series of trials and that throws the selections and ranking open once again giving both Preethi and Jhansi a good chance at the 2022 Asiad as well as for Preethi at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Both girls are training hard at the Yacht Club of Hyderabad under the mentorship of their coach and director of the Naavika Project , Suheim Sheikh .
“We have worked hard to reach this stage and the girls deserve all the praise and encouragement possible and hopefully full state government support “ , said Lt.Gen KS Rao, President of the Telangana Sailing Association in a telecon from the US
Ravali Parandi also of Telangana shocked the top seeds with a win in one race and an overall 4th finish on her debut often trouncing a more experienced fleet of sailors. Preethi has now set eyes on the World Championships at Israel to be held in October along with her compatriot sailors from Telangana, Dharani Laveti, Ravali Parandi and Lakshmi Nookarathnam. FINAL POINTS TALLY 470 Mixed Class Uma Chauhan and RS Sharma - 15
Preethi Kongara and Sudanshu Shekhar - 24
Ramya Sarvanan and CHS Reddy - 26
Laser 4.7 Class Rithika Dangi - 12
Neha Thakur - 17
Jhansipriya Laveti - 27