Olympic dream comes true for winners at Mussanah Open Championship
Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:45 PM
The Mussanah Open Championship, organised by Oman Sail, came to a close after six days of exhilarating action on the water across five classes. With Olympic qualification on the line, as well as the honour of winning gold, silver and bronze medals, racing on the final day was tense, dramatic and of an incredibly high standard as dreams were made reality in perfect conditions.
The 49er class gold medal was won by the Indian pair of KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar who finished on top for the fourth successive day and have qualified for the Olympics. Akira Sakai and Russel Aylsworth representing Hong Kong gave the performance of the day to secure second place and silver, and the Omani team of Musab Al Hadi and Waleed Al Kindi gained two places from yesterday to end the championship in third, taking the bronze medal on home waters.
China’s Ye Jin and Chen Shasha sealed victory in the 49er FX class and booked their place in Tokyo with a narrow win over Molly Highfield and Sandy Wing Chi Choi from Hong Kong. India’s Ekta Yadav and Ritika Dangi ended the tournament in third place after a strong display in the final race.
Ryan Lo Jun Han of Singapore took top spot in the Laser class and wins gold after dominating the fleet all week and easing to victory today in the medal race, sealing his place in Tokyo. India’s Vishnu Saravanan was the star of the race, finishing in second place to take the silver medal. Keerati Bualong of Thailand finished in third place to claim bronze.
Laser Radial gold was taken by Emma Savelon after the Dutch sailor claimed victory by one point over India’s Nethra Kumanan. Stephanie Norton of Hong Kong finished third, Kim Jia of South Korea finished fourth. Emma Savelon competed at the Mussanah Open Championship as a guest sailor and received the first prize but was not eligible for Olympic qualification, which means Nethra Kumanan in second and Stephanie Norton in third advance to Tokyo 2020.
In the men’s RS:X medal race, Thai windsurfer Natthapong Phonoppharat led from the first day to the last and claimed gold in impressive style with a relaxed performance today to seal first place and the gold medal. Yancy Kaibigan from the Philippines claimed silver and fellow Thai surfer Navin Singsart edged out Geylord Coveta of the Philippines by a single point to take the bronze.
The women’s RS:X class has been a close fought race all week with Amanda Ng Ling Kai of Singapore and Charizanne Napa from the Philippines trading places back and forth. The Singaporean eased to victory with another exciting performance to take gold. Charizanne Napa ends the championship with the silver medal and Ishwariya Ganesh of India finished in third and claims the bronze medal.
Amanda Ng Ling Kai of Singapore revealed that she suffered a suspected torn MCL after a fall prior to the tournament and has been enduring severe knee pain throughout the week to triumph in the Women’s RS:X. With the help of her coach and a knee brace, as well as the support from home, she battled through the pain barrier to take gold and qualify for the Olympics this summer, her second appearance at the Games after representing Singapore at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The winners received their prizes from guest of honour Eng. Mohammed Al Busaidi, Chairman of Omran, in front of their fellow competitors, coaches, race officials and gathered media at the Millennium Resort Mussanah.
Speaking at the prize giving ceremony, Dr Khamis Al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, organisers of the event, said, “You came to Oman with the goal of proudly representing your home country and securing entry to the Tokyo Olympics. Every competitor here rose brilliantly to the challenge and demonstrated outstanding skills and passion for the sport of sailing. We hope that during your stay here, you have enjoyed the warm hospitality of the Omani culture and received all of the support you needed from the Oman Sail team. I look forward to welcoming you back to Oman in the future.”
The Mussanah Open Championship was supported by host venue Millennium Resort Mussanah with addition sponsorship from the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO), Salsabeel water from National mineral water company, Carrefour Oman and OHI Telecommunications. For those headed to Japan this summer the hard work never ends and many will be needing to recover then fine tune their technique for when the sailing events kick off in Enoshima Yacht Harbour on 23 July 2021.