Sailing: Young Omani sailor starts racing at first ever Youth Olympic Games

Sports Monday 08/October/2018 16:19 PM
By: Times News Service
Sailing: Young Omani sailor starts racing at first ever Youth Olympic Games

MUSCAT: Oman Sail’s first ever representative at a Youth Olympic Games has started his racing campaign at the high-profile international event in Argentina.
Mohammed Al Balushi is representing the Sultanate in the Techno 293+ windsurfer class and competing against young sailors from 23 other nations over several days of close competition.
In the opening race in Buenos Aires on October 7 the ground-breaking Omani youngster posted a strong 12th place finish in what is a highly competitive fleet.
Aged 15, Al Balushi is the second youngest windsurfer taking part, and is racing against sailors up to three years older in a class where experience, sheer size and physicality can play an important role.
His selection for the Youth Olympic Games followed an in-depth selection process this year which saw Oman Sail youth squad sailors race at Asian, European and World championships. Al Balushi went to the sailing venue at the Club Nautico San Isidro in Buenos Aires after detailed preparation and training sessions with Oman Sail coaches.
“Mohammed’s place at the Youth Olympic Games is a just reflection of all the hard work he has put in to earning his place, and also of the dedication and skill of the whole Oman Sail team who have created the training and structure to make it all possible,” said Rashid Al Kindi, National Sailing Team Manager.
Born in 2003, Al Balushi joined the windsurf youth programme in 2014 and worked his way up to team selection for world and European championships in 2017, and the European and Asian championships earlier this year.
Oman’s historic involvement in the Youth Olympic Games was announced by World Sailing, yacht racing’s global governing body, with the Sultanate awarded a ‘universality place’ in recognition of the Oman Sail youth team’s impressive performances at various qualifying regattas since 2016.
One of the key figures in this process, Windsurfing National Coach Sultan Al Balushi, said: “The whole programme has been gradually and quietly improving and a great many people have played important parts in the progress that has taken us to the Youth Olympic Games.
“It is a highly competitive regatta of course with the world’s best young windsurfers all looking to do their best for themselves and their countries. I have no doubt that Mohammed will be able to demonstrate the skills and talent we all know he has, as well as gain extremely valuable experience and learn a great deal from taking part.”
Racing in the Techno 293+ windsurfer class is scheduled to conclude with the final medal race on October 12 after as many as 12 races.