Katya Coelho recently represented India in the Sailing World Championships, and this is how she finished in her class: she did not finish (DNF) three of her races and did not compete (DNC) in the fourth as per the results loaded on the website.
“The government decision of dropping Katya and other sailors has not been conveyed to us, but she could have been dropped because she did not meet the government criteria to qualify,” Captain Dixit Jitendra, secretary of Yachting Association of India (YAI) told GT Digital over the phone.
“It appears that she has not had enough international participation to have the international ranking to qualify for the Asian Games. Participants need to achieve a particular Asian ranking to qualify,” added Captain Dixit.
“I know that she did not perform well at all and is not fit to qualify, but I think the blame is on the Yachting Association of India (YAI) for introducing a rule that states one participant is enough to form a class,” stated Goa Yachting Association (GYA) president Rainer Dias.
“I agree with what Rainer says, but it was done solely to encourage women. I know that by being the lone participant it is easy to win, but as I said, the purpose is to encourage women. Maybe, at some stage, we will need to have a re-think on this,” said Captain Dixit.
Anil Madgavkar, Former GYA President
Former GYA president Anil Madgavkar, however, believes that Katya needs justice.
“It is shocking that Katya, who has been the number one among the ladies in windsurfing and foiling, should be dropped, while Ishwaria Danish, who has been second to her has been selected to participate in the Asian Games,” says one of Goa’s sailing veterans Anil.
“It is shocking that several other sailors who are not at the top are also in the India team and only Katya has been held back. This shows a clear bias against her and the Government of Goa should take up her matter at the highest level,” thinks Anil.
Captain Dixit, however, thinks that Anil’s conclusion is not valid because, “Ishwaria represents a different class, has won silver at the Asian level and has an international ranking,” observed Captain Dixit.
“The two cannot be compared,” he added.
“The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has all the facts at their disposal when selecting players. We could not have even pleaded for a second look in the case of Katya because her participation on the world stage was poor,” shot back the YAI secretary.
“Hard work is essential, and her class performance was abysmal compared to the others who represented India in the World Championships. We have to put our foot down,” stated another YAI source while conceding a re-think has to be done on having only one woman participant as enough to form a class.
“It would have been nice if we had been intimated the reason why she (Katya) was dropped. There was no reason given and that is upsetting,” said Rainer when commenting on Katya’s outburst.
“Yes, I know the World Championships results are out in the open and that she performed badly and should have not qualified. Yet, if we had been informed of the same, matters would not have reached this stage,” stated Rainer.
“We introduced the system of forming a class for women if there is only one participant to promote the sport. We even selected her to represent the country before, but if the performance is so bad that a competitor cannot finish a race, we have a problem in hand,” stated the YAI source.