Muscat: Members of Oman’s team of promising young sailors have reaffirmed their legacy as most successful in the region after returning home from the 2017 GCC Sailing Championships with an impressive nine-medal haul, including three gold, four silver and two bronze. Taking place at the Kuwait Sea Sport Club, the ninth edition of the event brought together the best young sailors from across the region in Optimist, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and Laser Standard classes.
In the Optimist boys class, Usama Al Zadjali won gold in the Under-12 category while Samiha Al Riyami won silver in the Girls competition, following it up with second place overall as Omani sailors swept the board. Al Mutasim Al Farsi finished first, Samiha second, Mohammed Al Qasmi third and Mohammed Al Alawi fourth in an incredibly successful event for members of Oman Sail’s youth programme, sponsored by Omantel.
The medals continued in the Laser 4.7 class with Salim Al Alawi taking gold and Zakariya Al Wahabi the silver. Marwan Al Jabri performed well but narrowly missed out, finishing fourth. Ahmed Al Balushi claimed silver in the Laser Radial competition and Ahmed Salim Al Wuhaibi bronze in the Laser Standard class.
Oman Sail coaches Rashid Al Kindi, National Sailing Team and Community Sailing Programme Manager, Mohsin Al Busaidi, Youth Programme Manager, and Abdul Aziz Al Shidi, Optimist Coach, all travelled to Kuwait as team managers, and Ghalib Al Mamari joined as part of the Race Committee.
Mohsin Al Busaidi said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our young sailors. The entire squad has shown a huge amount of progress this year and to compete against the best young sailors from across the region, and perform so well, is an excellent result for everyone involved in the Youth Programme. The standard of competition is very high and our goal is always to do the best we can. We have a squad of very talented sailors and we look forward to seeing them all progress further in the coming year.”
Rashid Al Kindi said: “The talented sailors in our Youth Programme represent the future of sailing in Oman. Our teams have shown themselves capable of competing against the best in the region and we are immensely proud of their achievements in Kuwait. We are also grateful to Omantel for their continued support in helping to make the dreams of Oman’s youth come true.”
The National Youth squad will now prepare for the first ranking race of the year where places in upcoming competitions will be decided with the ASAF Youth Cup in Ras Al Khaimah taking place early in April and a busy schedule for the rest of the year.
High on the agenda is the upcoming Laser 4.7 Championships in Germany, as part of Kiel Week in June, and the Radial European Championships in Poland, Optimist World Championships in Thailand, and Laser 4.7 World Championships in Nieuwpoort, Belgium, all taking place in July.
Omantel Youth Squad at 9th GCC Sailing Championship 2017:
Optimist Class (Overall)
1. Al Moatasim Al Farsi
2. Sameeha Al Riyami
3. Mohamed Al Qasmi
4. Mohammed Al Alawi
13. Osama Al Zadjali
Optimist (Junior Under-12)
1. Osama Al Zadjali
Girls: Samiha Al Riyami (Silver medal)
1. Salim Al Alawi
2. Zakariya Al Wahabi
4. Marwan Al Jabri
3. Ahmed Al Wahaibi
2. Ahmed Al Balushi