Olympic-bound Indian sailors Varun Thakkar and KC Ganapathy want to continue training under experienced Australian coach Ian Stuart Warren, who helped the duo qualify for Tokyo 2020.
The duo said it will be “difficult” to push themselves to the next level and perform well at the quadrennial event if the Australian is not around in the next three months.
Varun and Ganapathy had qualified for the Olympics in the 49er category after topping the field at the Mussanah Open Sailing Championships last month.
“We have been working with a coach (Warren). We are his fifth team that he has helped to qualify for Olympics. The experience he brings in helps in keeping our mind calm,” Varun said in a virtual press-conference conducted by SAI.
“We work with him privately, we take money from our parents and hire him during big events, so we want to have him at the Games as well.”
Asked if Yachting Association of India has decided on allocation of coaches, Varun said: “We have requested for our coach to come. Yes we know that Nethra (Kumanan) and Vishnu (Saravanan) have different coaches and we have a different coach.
“Nethra has worked with Alex (Alexandra Danisic), who is Vishnu’s coach. Nethra’s coach will be with the Greece team. So we have asked for Alex and Bunny Warren to be at the Games for four of us.
“YAI and SAI are working on and hopefully we should have a positive result.”
The duo is scheduled to train in Portugal ahead of the Olympics and Varun said they “want to go to Portugal and train with him.”
“But not having him for next three months will be little difficult for us in terms of performing well and pushing us to a different level where we can reach,” he said.
“So the next three months will be very crucial for us to go back and work with Warren who was with us at Oman and also at Abu Dhabi last year, also in the run up to the 2018 Asian games. So we want to go back and start prepping for Olympics.”
Ganapathy said they have “to be work on our consistency technically and tactically.”
“We have won in India and Asia and now we have to win in Europe and world stage. Ideally we have to train with the best, where were pushed and technically also.”
Varun and Ganapathy are awaiting for things to clear up on their tour of Portugal in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Right now 6-7 teams who have already qualified are based there in Portugal and training and we intend to join them,” Varun said.
“With the travel restrictions, we have been briefed about it, but we are waiting to see what happens in next few weeks for so.”
Asked what happens if they fail to travel to Portugal due to the Covid-19, Varun said: “Because major cities have shut down, we will head back to Rameswaram. We are happy with the place, there is not much infrastructure and we need to be in the waters. But we hope Portugal happens.”
Varun and Ganapathy were included in the TOPS scheme last month.
With Covid-19 disrupting sports, the Indian duo qualified late, just five months from the Olympics but Ganapathy said it never bothered them.
“In March 2020, we were little light for the boat, our boat has a certain weight category that it performs the best which is around 160kgs and in Abu Dhabi last year, we were 7-8 kgs lower,” he said.
“The lockdown helped to gain the required weight. Varun worked work on the gym to gained the weight, so the lockdown was a blessing in disguise.”
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