MUSCAT: Oman Sail’s 49er team have demonstrated they are a force to be reckoned with after a strong performance at the 2018 European Championships in Poland.
Musab Al Hadi and Waleed Al Kindi also created a landmark moment at the Gdynia event when they became the first all-Omani 49er team to qualify in a Silver fleet for the final stages of a regatta.
In mixed conditions they showed impressive speed and tactical skills, particularly in the opening stages when they emerged in 16th place overall after three races in a competitive 92-strong international fleet. Al Hadi and Al Kindi posted three top-five results in the 15 races held.
The team eventually finished 30th in the Silver fleet and 55th overall, their best result of the season so far and a launchpad for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia where racing starts in just over a month’s time.
There they will face several teams which were present in Poland, including Hong Kong and China whose teams qualified in the lower Bronze finals fleet, and Japan and Korea who were also in the Silver fleet, with Korea finishing only two points ahead of the Oman pair.
“We started the European Championships aiming to qualify in the Silver fleet for the finals,” said Al Hadi, “and we were both very proud and happy to have achieved that.
“The results we managed in some of the races were not always what we had hoped for, but we showed that we can be competitive in very different conditions.”
Al Kindi added: “The Asian Games is our main target for the season and racing against the world’s best 49er sailors in Poland has been a great preparation for both of us.
“The training camp we went to before racing began was also a very big help, and the coaches like Gwen Gbick have done a lot to allow us to improve our sailing.”
The Asian Games in Jakarta will see racing start on August 24 with the event concluding on August 31.