Sailing: Omani sailors share success at Mussanah Race Week with international counterparts
February 27, 2019 | 5:19 PM
by Times News Service
Thai sailors took the top two spots in the strong Optimist class, with Oman’s Mohammed Al Qasmi claiming third place. Supplied Photo

MUSCAT: Young Omani sailors have shared success with their international counterparts at the conclusion of the ninth Mussanah Race Week regatta. The highly popular event at Mussanah Sports City attracted 125 sailors, aged from eight to 16 years-old, from a total of 21 countries. The racers took advantage of an intensive three-day pre-regatta coaching clinic before four days of racing in the Optimist, Laser, RSX and Techno 293 windsurfer classes. Thai sailors took the top two spots in the strong Optimist class, with Oman’s Mohammed Al Qasmi claiming third place. Young sailors from Italy, Germany, Portugal and the UAE, as well as Oman, also took top-10 places. Omani racers swept the board in the Laser 4.7 class, with Abdulmalik Al Hanai winning ahead of colleagues Almotassem Al Farsi and Alaa Al Omrani. Norway’s Tobias Birkeland won the Laser Radial division with sailors from Qatar and the UAE filling out the podium. Zakariya Al Wahaibi was the leading racer from Oman.

Oman saw success in the Techno 293 windsurfer class, with Ali Al Sarhi and Mohammed Al Balushi finishing ahead of sailors from Croatia. Jean-Marc Gardette from the Seychelles posted a succession of first places to win the RSX class from Oman’s Abdulmajed Al Hadrami and Hammad Al Mujaini. All the winners received their trophies at the prize-giving attended by His Excellency Shiekh Hamoud Al Wahshi, the Wali of Mussanah.

Speaking at the closing ceremony David Graham, CEO of event organiser Oman Sail, told the sailors, coaches and parents: “Since the very first Mussanah Race Week we have emphasised the importance of camaraderie between sailors because while the competitive racing is a major part of the event, at its heart this is a chance to learn from the coaches and from each other, and form bonds that will last throughout a career on the water and beyond.

“Over the course of the week, everyone will have had the chance to practice on the water and test themselves against their peers. Today we acknowledge the winners and recognise the progress made by everyone. The lessons learned here will be used in waters around the world and the new techniques taught this week will be invaluable in competition at every level.”

Many of the sailors taking part in Mussanah Race Week – which was supported by the Oasis water brand – will return to the same venue in September for the Optimist Asian Championships and Oceanian Championships. Oman Sail’s event project manager Feras Asqul said: “The past week serves as ideal preparation for the championships later this year. We look forward to welcoming the returning sailors and to continue to grow the event as a platform for local and international sailors to learn, compete and gain valuable experience in the perfect sailing environment offered by Oman.”

The quality of the coaching was also highlighted by Rashid Al Kindi, Oman Sail’s national team manager and Chairman of the Oman Sailing Committee said: “We pride ourselves on providing an event which offers world-class coaching to young sailors who take part in Mussanah Race Week. This year sailors have benefitted from the expert knowledge of Belgian Olympic Team Coach Xavi Carvalho and Slovenian National Coach Dragan Gasick. The lessons learned will be used in waters around the world and the new techniques learned in Oman will be valuable in competitions at every level.”

As well as the sailors, the regatta was also an opportunity for race officers and all those involved in race management to gain experience and improve their skills. Race director Stanislav Kassarov, an international race officer and judge from Bulgaria who returned to the role for a second year, said: “It was interesting to see the event last year and how this year there are more competitors from more countries. I like the place and I like the people, and it is one of the most interesting parts of our sport that it is connecting people from all over the world. I am very much looking forward to being here again next year.”

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