Muscat: Oman Sail welcomed 39 teams from 19 nations to the Barceló Mussanah Resort for the 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championships, the first exclusively para sailing event to be held in Oman.
Over the next six days, sailors in both the para and open categories – including Oman Sail’s own SailFree squad - will compete in the ultra-versatile RS Venture Connect boat, before a grand final on 27 November will decide the 2022 World Champion.
Six two-person teams will represent Oman in the para category; Hassan Al Lawati and Sami Al Sulaimi, Sultan Al Wahaibi and Ahmed Al Balushi, Adil Al Siyabi and Naser Al Rahbi, Malik Al Qartoubi and Ghalya Al Jabri, Raiyan Al Mujaini and Hamed Al Subhi, and Zaher Al Atbi and Ali Al Ghasaini.
Feras Asqul, Project Manager at Oman Sail, said, “This is a first for Oman and a first for the region. We are delighted to be able to welcome so many talented and determined sailors to the Barceló Mussanah Resort for a milestone event. Conditions are perfect for great sailing, and we look forward to making history here together. The practice days brought exceptional conditions and amazing sailing, with light winds allowing the athletes to show their best form. Already we have seen how talented the para sailors are and this promises to be an incredibly close but exciting championship. We look forward to great racing tomorrow and the chance to show the potential of para sailing.”
Dermot Birchall, General Manager of Barceló Mussanah Resort, says, “We are delighted to host the first parasailing competition in Oman at Barceló Mussanah Resort. Oman Sail has done a phenomenal job with the recent sailing competitions in the Sultanate, and we are grateful to be a part of their ongoing journey. It is a true testament to the sailors' determination and strong will, inspiring people to overcome challenges and extraordinary circumstances to pursue their goals in life as the world watches on. We would like to wish all participants of the RSS Venture Connect World Championships the very best of luck and look forward to welcoming them to Barceló Mussanah Resort as the hospitality destination of choice.”
Birchall continues, “The Sultanate of Oman is abundantly blessed with picturesque landscapes and a culturally enriched heritage, and has rapidly grown to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. At Barceló Mussanah Resort we are proud to support the continuous enhancement of the tourism and hospitality sectors in the country.”
The next leg of the nationwide Oman Sailing Festival also kicks off tomorrow at Barceló Mussanah Resort, with professional instructors from Oman Sail offering free sessions to Try Sailing, Try Windsurfing and Try Kitesurfing, as well as the RS Venture Connect for people with disabilities. There will also be a showcase of local SMEs during the three-day event and a beach clean up event has been organised in partnership with Be’ah to protect the local environment.
In a pivotal year for para sailing when the decision as to whether the sport is reinstated to the Paralympics for LA28, World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport, held a three-day Para Sailing Development Program (PDP) Clinic prior to the start of the RS Venture Connect World Championships to provide essential training for coaches and race officials.
The PDP also included a full International Classification Seminar which saw four candidates from Al Amal Occupational Therapy successfully complete a final assessment and become International Classifiers, joining 11 International Classifiers worldwide and taking another giant step forward for global para sailing.
World Sailing’s #BacktheBid campaign has gathered support from across the sailing community to show the accessibility, diversity and inclusivity of the sport as it looks to be included in the LA28 Paralympic Games. The RS Venture Connect World Championships will continue the support for #SailtoLA and serve as a prime example of the importance of the sport as, even if unsuccessful, Oman Sail, World Sailing, and national federations around the world remain committed to the long-term success of para sailing.
The RS Venture Connect World Championships are supported by bp Oman, the Oman Paralympic Committee, Oman Maritime Sports Committee, Oman Air, the Barceló Mussanah Resort, Tanuf, the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO), RS Sailing, and
environmental partners Clean Seas and Environment Society of Oman (ESO).