MUSCAT: A young Oman Sail team is heading into the Laser 4.7 Youth World Championships with the goal of finishing in the top group at the event in Gdynia, Poland.
Aged between 16-17, the four selected sailors from the Omantel Youth Sailing Programme will be part of a competitive 280-strong international boys’ fleet which features racers representing 41 countries from Australia, Belgium and Belarus to the UAE, Ukraine and USA.
Representing three of the four Oman Sail schools, Hussain Al Mansoori and Salim Al Alawi, both from Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, and Abdulmalik Al Hinai (Al Mouj Muscat) and Ali Al Sadi (Mussanah), are aiming to qualify for the Gold fleet – the top category – in the final series of races.
“All the sailors were selected on the basis of their performance at the recent 3rd Ranking Race regatta at Mussanah Sport City as well as earlier ranking races,” said Laser 4.7 coach Ahmed Al Wahaibi, who will accompany the team to Poland.
“They have all shown great skill and determination to earn a place in the squad and they are hoping to compete in the top group, the Gold fleet, at the end of the world championships,” he added.
In addition, the squad was also selected on the basis of their fitness level and ability to compete in the potentially demanding conditions in Gydnia, which could see 15 knots or more of wind and 1.5m waves. To prepare, the Laser 4.7 sailors are taking part in a training camp in Poland from July 3 to 9 ahead of the world championships.
Omantel Youth Sailing Programme manager Mohsin Al Busaidi said: “The conditions the team will face in Poland are likely to be very different to those they are used to in Oman, so it is important that they are fully prepared and able to demonstrate their undoubted abilities.”
The world championships closely follow the recent Asian Sailing Championships in Jakarta, which saw strong performances from Al Hinai and Al Mansoori. Following the worlds a Laser 4.7 team will go on to compete at the Oman Sailing Championships at Sur and then the Asian Games back in Jakarta in late August, the most important event for the Laser team this season.
Racing at Gdynia begins with a practice race on July 11 and continues until July 17.