17-year-old Neha Thakur and Eabad Ali helped India bag two medals in sailing on the third day of competition at the 2023 Asian Games on Tuesday.
Neha opened India's account in the sailing competitions with a silver medal in the Girl's Dinghy -- ILCA4 at the NBX Sailing Centre in Ningbo.
Eabad Ali then wrapped up India's campaign in the sport with a bronze in the Men’s Windsurfer RS:X event. He finished with a net score of 52, behind Thailand’s silver medallist Natthaphong Phonopparat with a score of 29, and Cho Wonwoo of South Korea, who won gold with 13.
Neha finished second behind Noppassorn Khunboonjan of Thailand after 11 races in this category. At the end of the 10th race, Neha had a net score (penalty points) of 23 as compared to 14 by the Thai sailor. Jaekyoung Seol of the Republic of Korea had a net score of 27 and was in third place.
In the 11th race on Tuesday, Neha finished fourth and bagged 4 race points while the Thai managed to finish second behind Singapore's Keira Marie Carlyle. Korea's Seol came third in the 11th race but her gains were not enough to overtake Neha to the second position.
Neha was born in Amaltaj village in the Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh. Her father Mukesh Kumar Thakur is a farmer while her mother Reena Thakur is a housewife.
Last year, Neha won a bronze medal at the Asian Sailing Championships in Abu Dhabi and qualified for the Asian Games.
Neha took to sailing at a very young age and was identified and groomed by the National Sailing School Bhopal.
Eabad Ali was under pressure on the final day of the competition as he had performed well in the 14th and final race to bag India's first medal in windsurfing.
He did just that by finishing second in the 14th race on Tuesday and claimed two points that helped him claim the bronze medal. he finished behind Wonwoo Cho of the Republic of Korea and Natthaphong Phonoppharat of Thailand, who retired from the 14th race but had done enough in the previous 13 that Eabad could not overtake him on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Eabad bagged a bronze in the Asian Championships in Abu Dhabi in 2022, which got him a berth in the Asian Games. He had come determined to do well in Hangzhou but things had not gone well initially as he did not finish three races -- the DNF saddling him with 21 penalty points in all.
But Eabad Alsi persevered and kept at it, and eventually finished with 52 penalty points. Cho of Korea had just 13 while Phonoppharat from Thailand netted 31 points, getting him the silver medal.