Vishnu Saravanan draws inspiration from Kobe Bryant to clinch bronze at Asian Games in Sailing

Saravanan finishes with a net score of 34 points to miss the silver medal by just one point.


Vishnu Saravanan draws inspiration from Kobe Bryant to clinch bronze at Asian Games in Sailing

Vishnu Saravanan (Image via: Open Source)

Sailing in the seas is a passion. For those who take to it as a competitive sport, there has to be tons of patience and the heart to stomach anything that happens. At the Ningbo Xiangshan Sailing Centre, over 150 plus km away from Hangzhou, Vishnu Saravanan was at the mercy of nature on Wednesday. There was no wind, so the last race was abandoned. Heck, this is like a T20 cricket match getting rained out, one may think.

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The good part, was Vishnu’s ILCA 7 race had been spread over a good four days. In the end, on Wednesday, based on scores of his previous races, Vishnu won a bronze. Emotions, tears, joy, what does one make of it?

If you ask Vishnu, he is calm, like the sea. Perhaps, on Wednesday, the calmness was killing. For, minus the wind, there was no question of setting out to sail. The women had attempted to do so, but the race had to be abandoned. Vishnu was calm after the win. No high fives, no partying, no celebrations really. “This bronze medal is better than finishing with nothing,” he told this writer. “As the wind conditions did not meet the requirement of racing, we could do nothing on Wednesday,” said Vishnu.

Vishnu Saravanan also spoke about Kobe Bryant and the Mamba mentality. That is, believing in training hard and putting in the best preparations. “One has to be ready for anything and everything,” he said.

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The journey of India’s pride Vishnu Saravanan

For those not initiated into this sport, sailing is not rapid fire or meant for those who lack patience. A sailor is at the mercy of nature, he or she needs to be serene like a monk in meditation. That’s what sums up the persona of Vishnu, who comes from a family that loves sailing. Vishnu is living the dream of his entire family.
Was there a trace of sadness he missed silver by a single point?

Vishnu Saravanan (Image via: Open Source)
Vishnu Saravanan (Image via: Imago)

He spoke about it at length, especially about how those who finish with no medal have nothing to do but rue the lost chance. It happened to his training partner in China this time as well! They call it the wooden spoon, to finish last or miss a medal.

The story is about Vishnu and how he won an Asian Games medal which should have come five years ago in Jakarta. “We arrived early and trained for 15 days in the waters, so we knew the local current and weather,” said Vishnu. Like the googly or carom ball in cricket, the spin for Vishnu was, despite coming early to China and roughing it out, the weather conditions changed.

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The first three days it was completely opposite to what we had trained, including rain. It was difficult to maintain the consistency because the level (of competition) was very similar and the fleet was also spread out. I also had a yellow flag warning,” said Vishnu.

This is not a sport for those who are going to grind their teeth or bite/chew nails in anxiety. Vishnu took it all in his stride, for competing against nature in water is so unpredictable. “A lot of positives from here, I am proud of the way I sailed. A medal is a medal,” said Vishnu. He is returning to India soon. Vishnu will gaze at the seas again, back when there is wind in his sails. After all, he has to prepare for the Paris Olympics in 2024. He was 20th at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Vishnu dares and dreams. He is looking at a Top 10 finish in Paris next year.

I know people will say it’s difficult but I will take it as a personal challenge and work towards it,” he said. Sailors in competitive sports have to be prepared for the worst. In his own words, hear this. “The worst that can happen is I won’t achieve it but at least I have a target.”

Now you know why these water sports guys are a crazy lot. They attempt stuff that is bizarre to the commoners but beautiful to those addicted to water!

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