Weihai, China: In a class which rarely gives Indian sailing any highs to talk about in any given year, 28 year old Brijraj Verma with crew Pankaj Kumar produced a performance to remember by finishing 5th in the Asian Sailing Championship at China, holding out a promise for better future.
The talented skipper from the Indian Navy competed against top Hobie 16 sailors from all over Asia which included the top two 2010 Asian Games medalists from Thailand and Korea. Thailand and Korea dominated the event by taking the top three spots while Hong Kong finished fourth.
A total of 33 teams from 7 countries took part in the event. The second Indian pair of Kamlesh Patel and Umesh Rawankar finished 8th overall.
“Most of the Asian teams at the event were surprised to see us (Indians) participating in the event. Some of them didn’t even know that Hobie 16’s were sailed in India”, said Verma.
With his superb performance in China, Verma not only gave India its best ever international performance in Hobie 16 class but also sent a message to the Asian competitors of what Indians are capable of.
“The boats provided to us were very different as compared to the ones with which we practiced in India. They were extremely light and reacted very quickly. It cost us the first two days of racing to get a feel of the boat and understand the local conditions. We could have performed even better if we had a coach to guide us”, said Verma.
“I am thankful to the Yachting Association of India (YAI) for giving us an opportunity to compete in the Asian Championship and we are looking forward to bring glory to India at international events in the future with their continued support,’ he signs off.