Mumbai: The very first week of 2012 saw Ramachandran Mahesh win the YAI Match Racing National Squad Selection Trials 2012, with both defending champion Ayaz Shaikh and Monsoon Regatta 2011 winner Nitin Mongia in the draw, as expected.
Mahesh beat Nitin Mongia with a terrific 3-2 win to secure the top spot in the National Squad and his ticket to the Asian Sailing Championship to be held in Malaysia next month.
In the last deciding match of the finals Nitin Mongia looked in control until the final one minute when Mahesh managed to take his stern, pushed him early on the start line and gave him a penalty just 15 seconds before the start. That was the match turning move. From there, Mahesh left no scope for Nitin to get back into the match by keeping him under tight covers throughout the race.
Ayaz Shaikh’s greatest asset throughout last year has been his indomitable spirit, which Nitin Mongia consumed in huge gulps in the semi finals, beating him 3-2.
Despite the unbelievable year that Ayaz had in 2011, he had to settle for a third place overall. He defeated Atool Sinha 2-0 in the petit finals.
2011 proved to be a fascinating year in Match racing. There was a major shift at the top with Ayaz Shaikh surpassing both R Mahesh and Nitin Mongia to assume the top spot.
With the eyes of the federation on the young match racers and how well they will perform in comparison to last year, Mahesh will be able fly under the radar with fewer distractions, which will allow him to focus more on the matches only.
There is also the fact that Mahesh is already one of the most accomplished Indian match racer of all time and has little to prove to anybody else, which takes even more pressure away from him. One doesn’t want to face a loose Mahesh sailing with no pressure.
Expect the Naval Pilot to make a huge statement in 2012, because besides all that, of course, nobody match races like Mahesh does.