Report written by Ajay Rau – fellow international sailor, brother and student of Communications & Journalism at UNSW, Sydney)
RMYC’s Rohini Rau Sails India into History Books.
Wins Bronze in Izola Spring Cup (Slovenia)
On Sunday 12th April, 2009, Rohini made history for Indian Olympic sailing at the 2009 Izola Spring cup –ISAF Grade 3 event. The Royal Madras Yacht Club sailor is the First Indian Woman to finish on the podium in an International Olympic Class Regatta.
This is her first International medal in the single hander Radial
Class. She is not new to making history. Team Pallavi Naik and Rohini Rau won India’s first women’s sailing Asian Gold medal in the 420 Class in Mumbai in January 2004. And in October 2008 Rohini was part of the first Indian Match Racing Team to win an Asian Gold at the Regional finals of the Nations Cup held in Mumbai. But this medal is even more special as this medal was achieved in a single hander Olympic Class of Boats in International waters.
Despite having the worst possible start to a regatta (DSQ: scoring
maximum points) Rohini managed to climb back strong and win the bronze medal. She did well to keep the home favorite at bay and only gave Marusa Krasevac (SLO) a sniff of the bronze medal. She fought hard against Fellow Gold and Silver medalisits, Elisabetta Macchini (ITA) and Katharina Roeggla (AUT).
Rohini’s initial reaction after winning the medal.
" It feels good........I mean I was only 2 points away from silver and then I messed up my last race .It was the first time I had got 2 yellow flag penalties in the first race itself (DSQ)......so in spite of all that...I guess bronze wasn't so bad.....” Her reaction shows she is not content with just making it to the
podium. She has a burning desire to win.
4 times Olympian and Coach Allen Jullie (SEY) was all praise. This is what he had to say about Rohini:
“She kept a cool head and focused right through the regatta. Her goal this month was to just get into shape as she had been racing different classes of boats. She surprised all of us by winning the bronze medal after a 1 year break from international competition in the radial class. She has potential to create waves in the international sailing scene. She is a medical student; yet she has been able to train hard and sail. I am happy to be working with the Indian athlete.”
When asked how it feels to be the first Indian Woman to Win a medal in a Women's Olympic Class (Sailing)
"It's a step in the right direction for Indian women in sailing...after all the support and effort that my parents, brother (Ajay Rau) ,coach Alen Jullie (Seychelles) and
fitness trainer Ramji Srinivas have put in...I guess this is only the
beginning....” The 2007 YAI woman sailor of the year said with pride.
She also thanked the SDAT( Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu), SAI (Sports Authority of India) and AMM Foundation for their long time
To win a medal in Europe is remarkable as it hosts some of the
toughest circuits on the tour. For an Indian woman to win medals in
sailing was “just a Dream” not so long ago. This experience should
help her shape up well for the forth coming National Championships
against the men where she finished 3rd overall last year. This is also
good preparation for major events like the European and World
Championships for which Rohini will be representing India.
This historic feat will do well to inspire women sailing in India at
an International and Olympic level. Hopefully the repeated
achievements by this young sailing star will finally get the attention
she deserves from the Indian selectors and officials to support her
and women sailing.
She was presented with a plaque from Slovenian Sailing legend Vasilij
Zbogar Olympic Silver (08) & Bronze (04) medalist after achieving this
Laser radial women
Elisabetta Macchini, CDV Muggia
Katharina Roeggla, YCW
Rohini Rau, Royal Madras Yacht Club
Marusa Krasevac, ŠJK
Zsodo Juhasz, BYC
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I sail for my country and am currently pursuing a degree in medicine.
Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu
Sports Authority of India