Muscat: Members of the Omantel Youth Sailing Programme recently concluded a challenging international competition at the Optimist World Championships in Vilamoura on the south coast of Portugal.
After days of racing in light airs and blistering heat in the Optimist class, Al Moatasem Al Farsi (Age 13) led the Oman charge, achieving 187th place in a field of 258 youngsters from 59 nations.
He qualified for the Bronze fleet while the four other members including Mohammed Al Alawi (Age 13) in 204th place, qualified for the Emerald fleet.
Mohammed Al Qasmi (Age 12) got in 243rd place, followed by Ali Al Riyami (Age 12) in 245th place, and Jihad Al Hasni (Age 12) in 250th place overall.
The world championships were contested over eight days with the individual competition preceding a team event.
For the Omani team, the championships followed immediately on from a training and practice event designed to get the five representative sailors used to wind conditions in Vilamoura.
Their skills were pitted against the talents of children from 14 other nations as part of their preparations, equipping them to cope better with large fleets, specifically the congested start lines and mark roundings.
It was a chance to boost their confidence ahead of a large scale event that many of the youngsters were unfamiliar with and arm them with the tools they needed to compete at this level.“This was a great experience for the team to get used to sailing in competitive international arenas,” said Oman Sail’s Youth Team Manager, Mohsin Al Busaidi.
“The young sailors worked hard to make gains in their starts, speeds, tactics and transitions to improve individual rankings.
There was also a chance to spend time exchanging knowledge and expertise with their counterparts from other countries such as Hong Kong, Malta and Canada.”
Mohammed Hassan Al Lawati, Events Manager at Omantel added: “We are delighted to welcome this passionate crew of young sailing talents back home after what was surely a great and fruitful experience for them in Portugal.
“At Omantel, we are committed to providing opportunities for the youth to unlock their potential and apply their emerging skills based on a long-term performance pathway that ensures sporting improvements and success”.
The event concluded with USA team crowned as the new Team Racing World Champions.
It is the first time the USA to win in the 33-year history of the competition.
Argentina became second while Italy scooped third.