Fearless Vishnu Saravanan ready to unleash 'fighter mentality' at Olympics

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (PTI) A fearless approach helped then rookie Vishnu Saravanan at the Tokyo Olympics and the Indian sailor is ready to continue with the same mindset, unleashing his "fighter mentality" at the Paris Games next month.

The 25-year-old qualified for his second Olympics earlier this year at the ILCA 7 Men's World Championship in Australia.

"In Tokyo, I was a bit fearless. I just went 'OK, it's my first Olympics. I don't really care about the results. So I just want to sail my best and see where I land up.' And I did ok," Saravanan told a virtual press conference arranged by the Sports Authority of India on Tuesday.

The Asian Games bronze medallist said that he did not get overwhelmed by veteran sailors and their achievements, which gave him confidence do better against them.

"That fearlessness kind of taught me like you can perform much better by not putting yourself underneath some of the veteran sailors. You really have to push that level of comfort where you can do your best and that's what I think I improved this season as well.

"Because I was more confident and I had more of kind of a fighter mentality where I really wanted to beat these guys before they quit." World no 17 Saravanan has been training in Marsaille for the past month, getting the taste of the Olympic venue alongside London 2012 silver medallist Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus and Rio and Tokyo silver medallist Tonči Stipanović of Croatia.

"I've been lucky to be able to train in the Olympic waters and have such good training partners who actually won Olympic medals. I'm training with Pavlos Kontides and Tonči Stipanović, who've been in the top five for many years. So it's quite a solid group.

"As I say, I am in the Army, but I've never been in the war. But when I'm sailing on water with these guys, it feels like I'm on war every day because the intensity is super high and my heart rate never goes below 150.

"It might look from outside like we don't really work so much but the tension is quite high and it's always running. So it's quite fun to be there." In the run up to the Olympics, Saravanan has competed at the Europa Cup that was in Palma in Spain along with a tournament in France, where he finished 11th.

At the Paris Olympics, Saravanan knows that his biggest challenge will be navigating through the tough conditions.

"The biggest challenge would be the conditions because it's so random. If you see the map of Marseille, it's like a big bay, like marine drive, but with cliffs on the edges.

"So when the wind comes in different directions, it's very challenging because there's a lot of unpatternised movements of the wind, which is very unpredictable.

"I have to have a good start to have the tactical advantage." PTI APA BS BS