Muscat: A well-prepared Omantel Youth Sailing team is heading to the UAE aiming for strong performances at the latest Asian Sailing Federation ASAF Youth Sailing Cup Finals event. The 15-strong team will be racing at Ras Al Khaimah in the Laser 4.7 and Optimist classes from April 3 to 7, with expectations that four of the young sailors will finish in the top half of their respective fleets.
All the Omantel supported team took part in an intensive three-day training camp in Musannah which ran from March 22 to 24 with expert foreign coaches, immediately followed by two days of ranking races.
The UAE event is the third in the 2018 ASAF series, following regattas in India and Hong Kong, and the youth team will be looking ahead to the IODA Optimist Worlds in Limassol, Cyprus in late August, and then the IODA Asians held in Myanmar in November.
“This year we want to expand our racing teams and give the sailors more experience of international events,” Abdul Aziz Al Shidi, Oman Sail’s Youth Pathway Coach, said.
“For most of the sailors this will be their first international regatta and they are also beginners, so it is going to be a challenge. Our goal is to give them the experience as they will be racing against teams from most of the Asian countries, and we also hope to see four of them placed in the top half of their fleet.
The youth team consists of Optimist sailors Salim Ali Al Alawi, who was the best place Omani sailor in the class at Musannah Race Week earlier in the year, Al Walid Khalid Al Araimi, Nibras Ahmed Al Awaisi, Jihad Salim Al Hasani, Mahmood Saif Al Gharabi, Osama Walid Al Zadjali, Elyas Bader Al Fadhali, Layth Idris Al Hadhrami and Al Hassan Khalid Al Jabri.
Alongside them are Laser 4.7 racers Abdulmalik Gharib Al Hinai, who came second in class at Mussanah Race Week, Adnan Issa Al Mabsali, Salim Ahmed Al Alawi, Ahmed Mohammed Al Oraimi, Alla Saleh Al Amrani and Albaraa Surur Al Nofali.
The Optimist squad will be supported by coaches Sultan Al Zadjali, from the Mussanah Sailing Centre, and Youth Pathway Coach Al Shidi. Coaching the Laser 4.7 sailors are Ahmed Al Wahabi from the Al Mouj Sailing Centre and Salim Al Harbi from the Sur centre. The overall team leader is Oman Sail’s Youth Development Manager Mohsin Al Busaidi.
The ASAF event will start following a stunning showcase of local talents in the Arab Laser Championship, which took place in Bahrain from March 28 to 31.
Oman Sail’s best Laser athletes competed against 35 males and females from 11 countries with an aim to clinch the leading top seats.
The Laser Standard class saw Ahmed Gharib Al Hasani and Ahmed Salim Al Wahaibi compete in light winds in the first two days followed by strong wind conditions that reached 29 knots.
Al Wahaibi finished the racing in 4th position with 26 points while Al Hasani scored 6th place with 30 points. Laser Radial sailors Ahmed Hassan Al Balushi was the best performer of all, winning multiple races and leading most of the races to score the title with 15 points overall. Nasser Salim Al Ruzaiqi, who also competed in the Laser Radial class, reached the finish line in 12th position with a total of 63 points.