MUSCAT: The penultimate day of the Arab Sailing Championships ended with prizes in all classes still up for grabs. Sailors jostled for position in near-perfect conditions at the Barcelo Mussanah Resort, but a series of close finishes left congested fleets across the seven events with a tense final day in store tomorrow.
Oman’s Tamim al Balushi and Mayed Al Ali of UAE are level on points at the top of the Optimist leaderboard going into the final day. Both sailors faced difficulties in today’s races but will go into tomorrow with a point to prove. Mohammed al Marzouqi of the UAE is currently third and Oman’s Abdulateef al Qassmi moved up to fourth. Firas al Nabhani ended the day in tenth, while team-mates Hood al Noufli and Hassan al Wahaibi are close behind in 11th and 12th.
In the women’s category, Egypt’s Karma Walid Mohamed continues to excel, leading by 16 points and sitting third overall. In second place currently is Malak al Doseri of Bahrain in second and Talia Hussein Emad of Egypt remains in third.
UAE’s Othman Al Hammadi extends his lead over team-mate Alharith Al Ali to 15 points in the ILCA 4 class, but Khalifa al Doseri of Bahrain moved ahead of team-mate Waleed Daraan into third. While first place seems assured, the battle for second and third will go down to the final day. Ganna Mohamed Shaalan of Egypt leads the Women’s category, and ended the day fifth overall, 30 points ahead of Asmaa Wael Mahfouz of Egypt, while Algeria’s Ourabah Sofia moved ahead of UAE’s Ghala Al Beshr into third.
Al Farooq al Amoudi of Saudi Arabia, currently 20th in the ILCA 4 event, said, “This is my first time competing at the Arab Sailing Championships and I have learned a lot. I am looking forward to improving and gaining more knowledge at future events. The Omani sailors here are among the toughest I have ever raced against, and I have been watching them, hoping to learn from their performances. I hope to be able to race here again in the future.”
Al Mutasim al Farsi of Oman retained the lead in the ILCA 6 class, moving 12 points ahead of Bahrain’s Dawood Abdullah ends the day in second and Ahmed Younis of UAE who had a great day on the water and moved up one place into third In the Women’s category, Egypt’s Khouloud Moustafa Mansy continues to dominate and now sits second overall, nine points behind Al Farsi, seven points ahead of Algeria’s Karassane Mallia in second and nine points ahead of Dhuha al Beshr from UAE in third. The top three in both categories will need to be at their best tomorrow to secure their final positions.
Oman’s Ali al Saadi suffered a disqualification in the first race of the day and despite fighting back well to win the next ended up surrendering his lead to Abdullah al Janahi of Bahrain in the ILCA. Just six points separates the two and it is all to play for tomorrow. Adil Khalid of UAE remains a close third after a very good day of consistent racing. Omani sailors Abdulmalik al Hanai ended the day in fifth once again, hot on the heels of the leaders, and Abaraa al Noufli is not far behind in seventh overall.
The top three in iQFOiL ended the day just as they started it, with Oman’s Abdulmajeed al Hadhrami in first place, nine points ahead of fellow Omani Omar al Qartobi in second and Mehdi Guembri of Tunisia a further two points back in third. Abdullah al Sarahi of Oman is currently fourth and has an outside chance of closing the gap tomorrow.
Mehdi Guembri of Tunisia, said, “The level of competition here is really high. It is great to have fun and compete and push our sport to be in a better position in the world. It is important to take a step further and to continue improving. The wind has been quite light, and I would prefer a bit stronger, but the venue is amazing and it is great to be able to race here.”
Oman also dominates the RS Venture class. The team of Malik bin Juma al Qartoobi and Ghaliya al Jabri continued the excellent form they have shown all week and now lead by four points from their Omani team-mates Sami al Sulaimi and Naser al Rahbi who recorded two second place finishes and one win. Saleh al Tuwaylie and Turki al Khawaji of Saudi Arabia stay third and the Egyptian team skippered by Ahmed Salman Abdulwahid end the day in fourth.
Sailors will compete for medals tomorrow with the final three races in all classes. The top performing nation will also claim the Nations Cup trophy.