Young sailor Neha Thakur who won the silver medal in the Girls' Dinghy -- ILCA4 at the Ningbo Xiangshan Sailing Centre in the 2023 Asian Games on Tuesday, dedicated her medal to all those who have helped the 17-year-old daughter of a farmer from Madhya Pradesh reach the international stage and win a medal for the country.
Neha, who hails from Amaltaj village in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, opened India's account in the sailing competitions of the 19th Asian Games in Ningbo, around 155 km away from Hangzhou.
"It feels great to win a medal for your country, to fulfil your dream. The medal is not for me alone but a lot of people have contributed to make it possible -- all of them have not come to the forefront."
"I got tremendous support from the Madhya Pradesh government, our minister, coaches, my family and administrators of my sport. They all have played a role in my winning this medal," said Neha in a video captured by the YAI officials as she docked her fleet after winning the medal.
Neha, who was spotted by coaches of the National Sailing School Bhopal at a very young age and moved to the state capital from her village to learn and train in sailing at the residential school, promised that this was only the start and that she would go for gold in the next Asian Games
Neha's coach Narendra Singh Rajput said she has all the qualities that a good sailor should have. "She has all the qualifies that a good sailor should have -- discipline, determination and dedication. She has worked very hard to reach this position," said the coach.
On his part, Eabad Ali said he was in a must-win situation in the 14th and final race on Tuesday, after failing to finish three races and copping hefty penalties for that.
"I had no option but to do well in this race. I had to get top points, there was no other option for me but to do well today," said Eabad. He finished second in the final race and claimed the bronze medal. His coach Alex of the Army Sailing Node was happy that Eabad won the first medal for India in windsurfing at the Asian Games.
Overall, India has won one gold, 7 silver and 12 bronze medals in sailing at the Asian Games with Farokh Tarapore and Zarir Karanjia winning the only gold for the country so far in the 1982 edition in Fireball.