Muscat: More than 80 young sailors will take to the water this week in a bid to be crowned champions at the Oman Sailing Championship, the most important national youth event this year.
Held at Oman Sail’s state-of-the-art Sur Sailing School, which was funded Oman LNG, the event will see the sailors, aged from 10 to 17 years old compete in three classes — Optimist, Laser 4.7 and Techno 293.
The youngsters competing have been drawn from the Omantel Youth Programme and all four Oman Sail sailing schools — Sur, Marina Bandar Al-Rowdha, Al Musannah and Al Mouj Muscat — along with three UAE sailors invited to compete in the Laser 4.7 fleet.
Racing begins at the five-day Championship on Friday, August 18 until August 22.
The event was immediately preceded by an intensive four-day training camp in Sur.
As well as providing opportunities for the competitors to test their skills, the training camp also allowed the race management team to prepare for their vital organisational role through a workshop conducted by World Sailing International Race Officer Jerrold Wei from Singapore.
“The Oman Sailing Championship is a great platform for our young sailors to match their skills against their contemporaries across the Sultanate,” said Rashid al Kindi, the Sailing Development Manager.
“We are delighted by the increased number of sailors that will be taking part in this year’s Championships, as it reflects the increasing popularity of sailing as a sport in the Sultanate.
The event is an excellent platform for our sailors to demonstrate what they have learned at their sailing school and at the training camp, and gives them the chance to shine and perhaps be crowned a National Sailing Champion.”
“This is the fourth year the Oman Sailing Championship has been run, and every time we have seen enormous talent on display – I have no doubt this year will be the same as well,” added Al Kindi.
The Optimist class is the largest at the event, with 47 sailors competing for overall, national, girls and under-12 age group titles.
There are 21 competitors in the Laser 4.7 class, and 13 entered in the Techno windsurfing who will compete in under-15, under-17 and open categories.
Medals are awarded to the top three sailors in all group categories.
There is also a prize for the best sailing school team, with each school’s best four competitors in the Optimist class, and top three Laser 4.7 sailors’ results, to count.
As the premium youth event of the year, the Oman Sailing Championship allows national selectors to assess developing talent with a view to choosing candidates for future international events.
Racing is planned to take place in front of the corniche in Sur, allowing family, friends, visitors and the local community to see some of the Sultanate’s best young sailors in action.
A total of 15 races are planned, with up to four races a day.
The awards ceremony will follow racing on the final day on 22 August.