Asian and African sailing quotas were decided at the 2021 Mussanah Open Championship. In terms of Olympic qualification, the highest ranked eligible Asian boat in the men’s and women’s RS:X, men’s 49er and women’s 49erFX and the two highest ranked eligible Asian boats in the men’s laser and women’s laser radial qualified a spot to compete at the games. Additionally, the highest ranked eligible African boat in the men’s 49er and women’s 49erFX qualified. The Mussanah Open Championship was held in Mussanah, Oman from April 1st to April 8th 2021.
The men’s 49er had a total of 15 races plus the medal race. By the end of the first day it was China’s Chao Xiang and Hong Wei whom held an early lead, but a great second day by Oman’s Musab Al-Hadi and Waleed Al-Kendi allowed them to surpass the Chinese boat. The most consistent boat was 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist Kelapanda Chengappa Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar of India who took and held the lead after day 3 of racing. The pair won the Asian quota with a score of 59, ahead of Hong Kong’s Akira Sakai and Russell Williams (65 points) and Al-Hadi and Al-Kendi (81 points) who won silver and bronze respectively. The African quota was won by South Africa’s Benjamin Talbot and Alex Burger.
The women’s 49erFX followed the same schedule as the men’s 49er. For most of the event it was China’s Ye Jin and Chen Shasha who led all boats though at the end of Day 4 it was the Hong Kong pair of Molly Highfield and Sandy Choi who took a brief lead. Going into the medal race the Chinese pair held a three point lead over Highfield and Choi. Ye and Chen had the better medal race performance to win the quota with a score of 30 net points. Highfield and Choi won silver (37 points) while Indonesia’s Ekta Yadav and Ritika Dangi won bronze (49 points). The African quota was won by Tunisia’s Eya Guezguez and Sarra Guezguez.
The women’s laser radial had a total of 10 races plus the medal race. South Korea’s Jung Hye-won began the event holding the lead, but that would quickly become undone as she finished tenth overall. India’s Nethra Kumana would take over the fleet where she held a narrow three point lead over Emma Savelon of the Netherlands. However, the medal race favoured Savelon as she won the event with 29 points. The two Olympic quotas were won by Kumanan (30 points) and Hong Kong’s Stephanie Norton (47 points) who won silver and bronze respectively.
The men’s laser followed a similar schedule as the women’s laser radial. After a relatively slow start, Singapore Ryan Lo, bronze medalist at the 2018 Asian Games took the overall lead on the second day on route to build an insurmountable lead going into the medal race. Lo won the event and Olympic quota with a net score of 31. The second quota was decided during the medal race where India’s Vishnu Saravanan (53 points) outperformed Thailand’s Keerati Bualong (57 points) to earn a spot at the Olympics and the silver medal.
Similarly, the men’s RS:X was dominated by Thailand’s Natthapong Phonoppharat who won nine out of the 13 races (12 plus the medal race) for a net score of 20. The silver medal went to Yancy Kaibigan (33 points) of the Philippines who was also ahead of the pack, including finished ahead of Thailand’s Navin Singsart (63 points).
The women’s RS:X was initially led by Charizanna Napa of the Philippines, but a stronger second half allowed Singapore’s Amanda Ng to take the lead after the tenth race. Going into the medal race Ng held a three point lead over Napa. Ng won the medal race to secure the Olympic quota with a net score of 17. Napa won silver (24 points) while India’s Ishwariya Ganesh finished third (37 points).
This was the final opportunity for Asian nations to qualify in sailing outside of a tripartite invitation. For African nations, only the men’s Finn quota, scheduled to be held at the 2021 Gold Cup is left to be decided.