Incheon, South Korea: Young Indian women sailors Varsha Gautham and Aishwarya Nedunchezhiyan occupied third place after eight rounds in the 29er class competition despite being disqualified in the seventh race in the Asian Games sailing competition here on Friday. (Day 7 Highlights | Medals Tally)
The Indian duo, who led a small bunch of six teams after six races on Friday, finished third in the seventh race but were disqualified later to pick up seven penalty points after one of the competing teams, Malaysia, protested against one of their maneuvers and it was upheld by the race organisers at Wangsan Sailing Marina.
But a third-place finish in the eighth race put them on third with four more rounds to go into the competition. "The protest against us by Malaysia was upheld after we finished third in the seventh race," team manager Commander K D Singh told PTI.
Asked about the duo's chances now, he said since the margin separating the top three teams in the class was small, anything can happen over the last four races.
Thailand duo of N Poonpat and Waiwai Nichapa led the field with 12 penalty points, followed by Singapore (13.0 penalty points). India were third with 16 while Malaysia, who spoilt the Indians' day, fourth after accumulating 10 more penalty points.
Indian sailors continued to be in the middle or rear of the pack in four other class of races.
In the men's Optimist (one person) dinghy, 12-year-old Chitresh Tatha was maintaining the sixth place out of 10 competitors with 39 net penalty points after coming in fifth in both the races held on Friday.
In the corresponding women's class, India's Ramya Sarvanan slipped down a rung from Thursday's position and was lying seventh out of eight competitors with 43 net penalties after one discard.
After the eighth race in the women's laser radial class, a one-person dinghy, Nethra Kumanan was still lying seventh with 42 net penalties.
In the Hobie 16 Open multihull class of two-person boats, India's men's pair of Brijraj Verma and Pankaj Kumar were maintaining fifth position, out of nine teams, with a net penalty point tally of 32.
"Wind conditions were okay for sailing today, they were fairly good," said team manager Singh.