India bagged their first-ever medal in the Asian Games women's sailing competition as Varsha Gautam and crew Aishwarya Nedunchezhiyan won a bronze in the 29er Women's Two Person Dinghy event here today.
16-year-old Varsha and 18-year-old Aishwarya won the 11th and penultimate race and then finished second in the final race to log 25.0 net penalty points, four behind silver medal winners Rui Xi Priscilla Low and Rui Qi Cecilia Low of Singapore at the Wangsan Sailing Marina here.
The gold went to Thai duo of N Poonpat and N Waiwai (19.0 net penalty).
Indian team manager Cdr K D Singh sounded very pleased with the duo's show.
"Varsha is just 16 years old. This is the first ever medal for India in women’s sailing at the Asian Games. I am very happy for them," said Singh.
"The winds were not good initially and the races got postponed, but later the conditions were good for sailing," he said.
Nethra Kumanan ended seventh out of eight sailors in the women's one person dinghy in Laser Radial class and Ramya Saravanan also managed a similar position in the Optimist class.
In the Optimist Men's One Person Dinghy, 12-year-old Chitresh Tatha ended sixth.
Though all other sailors, including the seasoned match racing team, ended up without a medal, Singh singled out 12-year-old Chitraresh Tatha as a future medal prospect.
"In his class, the one-man optimist dinghy, the competition was very stiff and contained world champions. His sixth place finish is very creditable," said Singh.