For Armyman Vishnu Saravanan, sailing is in his blood. And on Thursday, as the 22-year-old qualified for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, his father Subedar Major Ramachandran Saravanan (retd), who is also his coach, had a big smile on his face. (More Sports News)
The senior Saravanan is himself an accomplished sailor and it was obvious that young Vishnu followed his father into the sea.
Senior Saravanan is a Madras Sappers Sailor and Vishnu was encouraged to join Madras Engineer Group (MEG) Boys Sports Company in 2014.
Vishnu's Saravanan talent soon came to fore and under the guidance from his father, young Vishnu soon rose to prominence in Laser Standard Category winning medals in junior national and youth national championships. Internationally, he won silver at the Hong Kong Sailing Week-2016.
Vishnu's father Ramachandran Saravanan did not had to spend much on his son’s training as the boats were provided by the Indian Army in Mumbai. Senior Saravanan retired last year at the Indian Army Yachting Node at South Mumbai.
"Sailing is called a 'Royal Sport'. A boat for Vishnu costs Rs 9 lakh but luckily Indian Army provides it for him. We spend around Rs 50,000 per month for his training and all," Ramachandran, who is also Vishnu's personal coach, said.
Vishnu is currently a B.Com 3rd year student and was enrolled in the Army as Naib Subedar in 2017. After enrolment into the Army, Vishnu won his first gold medal in senior national championship in 2018 and since then he has participated in several international championships.
Vishnu Saravanan participated in the Laser Youth U-21 World Sailing Championship 2019 held at Croatia, Europe in 2019 and won bronze medal where a total of 144 sailors from 41 countries participated.
With Olympics qualification in mind, Vishnu had been training in Malta, Europe, under Sail Coach Academy for the past two years. It was from here that he participated in the Mussanah Sailing Championship (Asian & Africa Olympic Qualifier Event) 2020-21 in Oman and qualified for Tokyo Olympics.
"When Vishnu competes outside the country, there is a problem. We cannot take our boats because it will cost Rs 5-6 lakh to carry a boat outside the country.
"We have to hire boats at the place where competition is held and we spend Rs 2-3 lakh for hiring a 'one design boat' for 15-20 days," Ramachandran said, adding, “One design boats' are the same everywhere in the world in their size, weight and design.”
Vishnu’s sister Ramya Saravanan was also in the same event but missed out on qualification after finishing sixth in the Laser Radial Class Event.