Muscat: Oman’s Sultan Al Wahaibi and Ahmed Al Balushi sealed the gold medal at the 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championships with an excellent display of sailing in the Grand Final.
The top ten teams overall – six from the para category and four from the open category – took to the waters in perfect conditions at the Barceló Mussanah Resort. Each team sailed two races.
Sultan Al Wahaibi and Ahmed Al Balushi continued their excellent form from the open category fleet races to sweep to victory in the Grand Final, claiming gold for the host nation. Jens Kroker and Sabine Kroker-Hohmann of Germany won the silver medal and Australia’s Genevieve Wickham and Grant Alderson claim bronze in third. Fellow Australians Christopher Symonds and Manuela Klinger of Australia narrowly miss out on a podium position in fourth.
Piotr Cichcoki and Olga Gornas-Grudzien of Poland finished first place in the Para category and took the gold medal ahead of Vasilis Christoforou and Theodoros Alexas of Greece in second. Guilherme Teixeira and Pedro Cancio Reis of Portugal finished third after an intense final race. The winners received their prizes from His Excellency Qais bin Mohammed Al Yousuf, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, at the closing ceremony. Dr Khamis Al Jabri, CEO of Oman Sail, said, “The 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championships, which is the first international event of this scale held in the Sultanate of Oman for persons with disabilities. We have been delighted to see this edition attract the highest number of participants in the history of the championship - 39 teams from 19 countries competed in Omani waters this week and we are incredibly proud to welcome you all.”
“It is our hope that the success of this championship serves to promote para sailing throughout the region and across Asia, and that more events can be held on our shores as we support World Sailing in its bid to reinstate Para Sailing for the LA28 Paralympic Games and beyond.”
Eng. Yousuf Al Ojaili, bp Oman President, commented, “We are honoured to be the main sponsor of the region’s first RS Venture Connect World Championships. Watching Oman’s first para sailing team excel in their competition with international teams, has shown us that we have achieved our targets at bp – which is to provide inclusive opportunities to Omanis with disabilities.”
The 2022 RS Venture Connect World Championships were the first exclusively para sailing event to be held in Oman and helps position the nation as a regional hub for growing the sport across the Middle East, Asia and across the world.
The RS Venture Connect World Championships is proudly supported by title sponsor bp Oman, along with 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).